The SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) is now accepting applications for its annual Launch Pad competition at www.sema.org/launch-pad. The program, now in its fourth year, is a competition that offers young and emerging entrepreneurs in the automotive aftermarket the opportunity to jumpstart their businesses.
According to Ian Lehn, CEO of BOOSTane, “The Launch Pad competition and its subsequent prize package took my company from a grassroots movement in the corner of the country, to nationwide and being sold in 23 different countries. Every step of the way it was a game changer.” Lehn was the winner of the 2015 Launch Pad.
The competition offers innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 an automotive industry platform at the world’s premier B2B gathering, the SEMA Show. Competitors submit an online application which is reviewed by industry veterans and experts. The competition culminates at the SEMA Show, where the finalists pitch their businesses to a panel of industry judges during a live event.
This year, participation is open to companies regardless of SEMA or YEN membership. “Our goal is to find and support the best and brightest in the automotive aftermarket industry,” said John Rosanbalm, YEN chairperson. “Many potential participants may not have to means to become members, and for the first time, these companies will be able to compete in the Launch Pad.”
Also, the number of semi-finalist spots has increased from 10 to 14 and finalists have increase from five to 10 participants. All semi-finalists receive a prize package that includes a one-year complimentary SEMA membership, and the top 10 finalists receive a complimentary kiosk booth at the 2016 SEMA Show.
Following the SEMA Show, Launch Pad competitors in the past have seen successful business growth of 300% and continue to grow.
The grand prize package for this year’s SEMA Launch Pad competition includes a SEMA membership, free advertising services, free event sponsorship packages, free use of the SEMA Garage and photography studio, a free turnkey booth at the 2017 SEMA Show, and more.
“The prizes were great, but the publicity that came from just competing in Launch Pad was absolutely invaluable,” said 2014 SEMA Launch Pad winner, Lehn. “SEMA is really working to support innovation in the aftermarket, and their support of this event has been great for us. We saw immediate sales growth, and are still making connections and growing thanks to Launch Pad.”