By Katie Carson
SEMA Launch Pad: Voting Season
The top 10 SEMA Launch Pad finalists will present their products to a panel of industry celebrity judges during the live event at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The SEMA Launch Pad Business Competition Powered by the Young Executives Network (YEN) has entered its fourth year. The competition is designed to give the people behind a new product or company in its early stages the tools and connections to take it to the next level. New this year, SEMA decided to open the competition to nonmembers in hopes of reaching young entrepreneurs to show them the resources SEMA provides and the benefits of membership. The 2016 event is set to take place Wednesday of the SEMA Show. A panel of industry celebrities will ultimately decide the winner of the fourth annual SEMA Launch Pad.
Dozens of entrepreneurs under the age of 40 from all over the country have submitted their applications. Launch Pad contestants consist of presidents, C-suite executives and owners—all representing their budding companies. After much consideration, the top 14 semi-finalists have been chosen. As a part of their semi-finalists’ prize package, the companies will receive a complimentary SEMA membership for one year.
The contestants were flown to the SEMA Exhibitor Summit in Las Vegas to film their entry videos, which SEMA will cut and edit for them. In the videos, the contestants answer questions such as:
- When did you start inventing your product/service?
- What does this business mean to you?
- Why do you think SEMA Launch Pad will help you?
- What is your product? Explain how it works.
- Why is your product/service the next big thing?
- What is the biggest challenge for this product/service?
The videos will be used during the voting period (July 18–September 1) of the competition to decide the top 10 finalists. Voting will be housed on the YEN Facebook page, where voters will be able to watch the contestants’ videos and select the product/service that they feel deserves to win.
Voting is open to everyone. Vote to make a difference in a young professional’s life! Visit www.sema.org/launch-pad/vote to cast your ballot. And be sure to attend the live event to see the products/services presented and hear the competitors answer questions from the panelists.
The 10 finalists will not only participate in the live event but will also win “kiosk-style” booths within the New Products Showcase at the SEMA show. The booths will give the contestants optimum exposure to thousands of potential business partners and buyers.
The New Products Showcase has proven to be one of the most-attended areas of the SEMA Show for media, buyers and manufacturers. Show attendees should be sure to stop by and meet these young entrepreneurs and learn about their products firsthand.
YEN: Ensuring the Future of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry
YEN members give back to the community by cultivating today’s youth through connecting with students and inspiring them to pursue careers in the automotive aftermarket industry. One of the challenges the industry faces is that young people are not educated on the variety of career paths available to them. YEN is looking to do its part in educating youth through programs such as the YEN Power Tour.
Each year, SEMA sends 10 YEN members on the Hot Rod Power tour, not only for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also to reach out to students across the country. Dozens of students come out to each stop for personalized tours of the traveling car show and to make meaningful connections with young automotive professionals.
YEN is a community and network within SEMA that is geared specifically toward advancing automotive professionals under the age of 40. Within YEN, young leaders can grow, gain leadership experience, network and be recognized for their contributions to the industry.
Upon joining, members gain access to these exciting benefits:
- Leadership and volunteer opportunities where they can make a difference in the industry.
- Opportunities for recognition through annual awards at the SEMA Show.
- YEN Power Tour, a community-building effort engaging students across the country.
- YEN Launch Pad, highlighting the industry’s top young entrepreneurs.
- Regional networking events throughout the year.
SEMA networks are free to join. Join YEN at www.sema.org/yen.