Calling Young Entrepreneurs to Apply for SEMA Launch Pad, Powered by YEN

SEMA Member News—March 2017

By Katie Carson

Calling Young Entrepreneurs to Apply for SEMA Launch Pad, Powered by YEN

The SEMA Launch Pad program, powered by the Young Executives Network (YEN), is entering its fifth year. Designed to help entrepreneurs under the age of 40 launch their new products or services into the marketplace, the program takes place annually at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The application period will open in early March, and SEMA expects to have a record-breaking number of applicants. To apply, visit

Who Can Apply?

If you have a new automotive aftermarket product or service and are under the age of 40, you can apply! Applicants do not need to be SEMA or YEN members. The applicant must hold an executive position within the company and, if selected as a semi-finalist or voted as a finalist, must act as the representative from the company in all promotions and presentations.

What Happens After the Application Is Submitted?

Once the application period has ended, a YEN task force reviews all applications and narrows them down to the semi-finalists. The semi-finalists are flown to the SEMA Exhibitor Summit, held in Las Vegas in June, to film their official videos, which will be considered for voting. SEMA provides all film equipment and editing services. A nationwide voting campaign then launches to determine the finalists, who will participate in a live event at the SEMA Show in November.

What Does the Live Show Entail?

The finalists attend the iconic SEMA Show in November to participate in the live show. The finalists pitch their products or services to a panel of industry expert judges in front of a live audience. After each presentation, the participant has an opportunity for a quick question-and-answer session with the judges about the product or service. Once all finalists have presented, the judges determine the ultimate winner, who takes home the grand prize package.

What Are the Prize Packages?

There are three levels of prize packages: semi-finalists, finalists and the grand prize for the winner. All prize packages are designed to get new products and services off the ground and into the marketplace. Just by participating in the program as a semi-finalist, your company will gain exposure through SEMA media channels and networking opportunities. Along with exposure, the finalists’ prize package includes a kiosk-style booth at the 2017 SEMA Show. The grand prize package includes industry exposure through ads and articles, complimentary and discounted SEMA resource services, exhibit space at the 2018 SEMA Show and much more!

To learn about the prize details, visit

Past Launch Pad Winners Talk About the Benefits of Participating

Aaron Aldrich“The SEMA Launch Pad prize package has so many elements that will benefit my new business. There is a good reason that the competition is titled ‘Launch Pad,’ because the prize package is certainly tailored to provide one. Any Level Lift is a new name in the industry, and the exposure from the news and magazine articles will help get our name out there, showcase our technology and build our brand.”

—Aaron Aldrich, Any Level Lift, 2016

Robert Vogt“Winning the Launch Pad competition has been very exciting for our business. Through the advisors we met, we have learned a lot about how to expand our product offerings and how to expand our business. Furthermore, the distribution contacts that we made are going to be very useful as we continue to expand.”

—Robert Vogt, Voyomotive, 2015


Jonathan Mill“Just from winning the competition, the confidence level really helped our business. The exposure and the networking that you do throughout the whole process are just as valuable as what I won in the very end. Having people call the office saying that they saw our product in Hot Rod magazine and on the Velocity channel is life-changing.”

—Ian Lehn, BOOSTane, 2014

Ian Lehn“We have picked up international dealers since winning the SEMA Launch Pad, and people are learning new ways to use my product. Winning the competition meant a lot to me. It validated all the hard work that went into developing and launching the product, and it shed light on my company. When I approached industry executives that I have always wanted to talk to, I had an opening line.

—Jonathan Mill, E-Stopp Corp., 2013

Previous SEMA Launch Pad (clockwise from top right: Ian Lehn, Robert Vogt, Jonathan Mill and Aaron Aldrich) winners recall the benefits they gained from participating in the program.