Business Tools

Learn How to Launch the Next Great Business

By Michael Hart

Jonathan Mill (second right) was last year's inaugural Launch Pad winner and was congratulated by SEMA's Bryan Harrison (left), YEN Select Committee member Lindsay Hubley (second left) and Dan Kahn of Kahn Media.

Who is the hottest, smartest young entrepreneur in the automotive aftermarket business today? You’ll find out Wednesday, November 5. That’s when the showdown takes place as SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) presents the second-annual SEMA Launch Pad business competition.

Matt D'Andria, CEO of and co-host of the top-rated automotive podcast "CarCast" with Adam Carolla, will be the competition's guest host. Five entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators, all under the age of 40, will pitch their new automotive product or service to a panel of five discerning industry leaders who will judge which YEN executive will be the grand-prize winner.

The five entrepreneurs participating in this year's SEMA Launch Pad competition include: Samuel Giles, Intellectual Capital Consulting Ltd.; Ian Lehn, BOOSTane Octane Engineering; Sarah Park, The Hybrid Haven; Roger Peterson, MG Research LLC; and Jack Zampolin, RightPSI Inc.

This is not only a chance to see some of the most imaginative young minds in the industry at work as they try to make the best pitch possible for their product or service, but it’s also an opportunity to pick up tips about how to pitch a product and what it takes to launch a business in the same way.

Earlier this year, YEN members were invited to prepare three-minute videos pitching their companies’ most exciting products and services. A YEN task force looked at all the videos and whittled the competition down to the 10 best.

Those 10 semifinalists’ videos were then uploaded to YouTube and viewers could vote for their favorites on Facebook. The final five top vote getters will make their pitches in person during the 2014 SEMA Show. The entrepreneur who makes the best pitch to the five judges will win a package of prizes all designed to help him or her take their business to the next level.

The package includes:

  • A full-page color ad in SEMA News and a booth at the 2015 SEMA Show.
  • An ad in either Hot Rod magazine or 4-Wheel & Off Road magazine.
  • Consulting sessions with public relations and social media professionals, manufacturers’ representatives, marketing and other industry experts.
  • An entry-level sponsorship package to a Family Event property.

SEMA Show Education Days will feature more than 60 educational sessions in 12 different tracks, ranging from new-vehicle technology to best business practices to marketing strategies and emerging trends in the industry. To see the complete schedule of SEMA Show Education courses and pre-register, visit