SEMA Announces 2018 Launch Pad Program

SEMA’s Launch Pad Initiative is designed to help young business owners win valuable resources to help build their automotive aftermarket business. (Photo: SEMA)

Young business owners and entrepreneurs in the automotive industry are being given a chance to boost their businesses by entering the SEMA Launch Pad, presented by the Young Executives Network (YEN).

Winners of the program will be able to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, with the top prize including $10,000 U.S. and exhibit space at the automotive aftermarket’s largest trade show.

“SEMA Launch Pad is about discovering young leaders who have great automotive products,” said Launch Pad Task Force Chair Celina Ingargiola. “The program is dedicated to supporting groundbreaking ideas from some of the industry’s emerging stars.”

Since 2013, more than 200 young business owners, entrepreneurs, and innovators have competed in the Launch Pad, where emerging businesses with automotive products or services are given a chance to win valuable resources to help build their brands. Young entrepreneurs, students, and business owners age 18-39 are invited to enter the competition before June 4, 2018. Fifteen applicants will be selected to receive a complimentary one-year membership to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), as well as registration and airfare (up to $500 U.S.) to attend the SEMA Show Exhibitor Summit in late June.

The Exhibitor Summit, held in Las Vegas, is a two-day conference for exhibitors of the SEMA Show that takes place in October in the same location as the summit. The 15 Launch Pad participants will join SEMA Show exhibitors in learning new business strategies, while also filming a short video that will be used for the online voting competition.

The public will be able to view the videos online and cast their votes for the business they’d like to advance to the next round. From there, the Top 10 finalist will go on to compete for the top prize of $10,000, booth space at the 2019 SEMA Show, free promotional support, and more.

“The winner of the SEMA Launch Pad will represent a product or service that consumers will find valuable,” said Ingargiola. “The public will be able to vote and play a key role in helping us find the next big idea.”

Applicants do not need to be members of SEMA or YEN to participate but must hold stake within the company. Students who meet the qualifications are invited to apply as well.

More information is available at sema.org/launchpad before June 4.

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