Compete for a $10,000 Grand Prize

  • Grand Prize of $10,000 includes brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more!
  • The ultimate automotive competition for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39.
  • Takes place at the world’s largest B2B gathering, the SEMA Show.
  • Participants pitch their business idea to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event.

Prize Packages


  • The finalist, top ten and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • $10,000 to be used for the benefit of your business
  • Turn-key Exhibit Space with Premium Placement at the 2020 SEMA Show*
  • One full-page, four-color advertisement in SEMA News magazine
  • Up to three hours of free custom scanning services at the SEMA Garage
  • SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Network: Distribution/sales support consultation meeting
  • One-year Tech Transfer Subscription (must qualify) New Prize for 2019!

FINALISTS PRIZE: 5 Competitors

  • The top ten and semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • Invitation to pitch at the Live Event for the grand prize held on Nov. 4, 2019.
  • SEMA Data Co-op: 50% off supplier monthly membership fees for your first year (up to a maximum of 10 SKU’s). New Prize for 2019!
  • One - ½ page, four color advertisement in SEMA News Magazine - New Prize for 2019!
  • One Live Chat on YEN’s Facebook page talking about how you started the business and experience at Launch Pad. - New Prize for 2019!

TOP TEN: 10 participants

  • The semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • Complimentary 2019 SEMA Show "Kiosk" Booth*
  • Two exhibitor passes to the SEMA Show
  • Two tickets to the SEMA Banquet
  • One-hour mentoring session with an industry leader
  • Widespread awareness of your brand and business

SEMI-FINALISTS PRIZE: 15 participants

  • One-year SEMA Membership.
  • Complimentary registration to the 2019 Exhibitor Summit, 2 nights of hotel and meals at the event (June 18 & June 19)
  • $500 award to be used toward flight cost to the 2019 Exhibitor Summit.
  • License to use the SEMA-filmed pitch video on company marketing deliverables.
  • Widespread awareness of your business through SEMA communication channels
  • One-year SEMA Council Membership of your choice. - New Prize for 2019!
  • One professional Launch Pad video to be hosted on the SEMA YouTube Channel. - New Prize for 2019!

All award taxes are the sole responsibility of the award-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes. All award winners must complete a W-9 in order to receive a prize.

*No changes are permitted to the booth layout. Company does not accrue SEMA Show seniority points by reason of exhibiting at a 2019 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the New Products Showcase area or the turn-key exhibit space with premium placement at the 2019 SEMA Show.

*Please review the full Terms & Conditions for prize package.

Program Timeline

  • Applications period: February 11, 2019 – April 14, 2019.
  • Semi-finalists (15) announced: April 29, 2019
  • Semi-finalists film 3-minute pitch video at SEMA Exhibitor Summit in Las Vegas: June 17-19, 2019
  • Voting Period: July 29 - September 8, 2019
  • Top Ten competitors - Kiosks (10 people) and Finalists (5 people) will be notified: September 16, 2019
  • SEMA Launch Pad Live Event: November 4, 2019 at 11:30am (SEMA Show) SEMA Launch Pad Roundtable: November 6, 2019 at 1pm (SEMA Show)

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants do not need to be a SEMA and/or a YEN member, but must be under the age of 40 (at the time of the closing of the 2019 SEMA Show on November 8, 2019)
  • The business owner, company's leading executive (i.e., president, CEO, CFO, COO), or vice president (with ownership stake) is the participant on behalf of the company.
  • Functioning Product/Service: The competing business must offer a product or service that is a functioning prototype, functioning concept, or currently for sale.
  • Semi-finalists Travel: Travel to the Exhibitor Summit (Las Vegas, NV). SEMA provides event registration, hotel, meals onsite and a $500 Grant to be used towards flight expenses.
  • Finalists Travel: Travel to the SEMA Show (Las Vegas, NV) at their own expense to exhibit and compete in the live event. The participant in the original application must make the business pitch before the SEMA Launch Pad judges. (No substitutes)
  • Taxes: All taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes.
  • Intellectual Property: A patent or trademark registration is not required but by entering the competition, the contest participant certifies that he/she has ownership rights to any intellectual property rights (i.e., trademark, copyright, patent, proprietary information) for the company and product/service being marketed, or authorization from the owner of such rights.
  • Residency: Open only to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age and who have a valid email address.

**Please review the full Terms & Conditions and Selection Criteria.


Vaughn Gittin Jr.

President RTR Vehicles / World Champion Drifter

Sean Holman

Motor Trend Group and Co-creator & Co-host of the #1 truck enthusiast podcast, The Truck Show Podcast with Lightning & Holman

Dan Kahn

President & CEO, Kahn Media Inc.

Wade Kawasaki

Coker Group and SEMA Chairman of the Board

Melanie White

SEMA 2018 Person of the Year, Hellwig Products

Judging Criteria

All Launch Pad finalists will compete in the live event at the 2019 SEMA Show where they will present a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges on their product/service. The contestants will be scored based on their performance in the following categories: People, Product, and Process.


2018 SEMA Launch Pad Winner

Matt Beenen, BuiltRight Industries
Product: Storage and Organizational Solutions
The BuiltRight Industries Bedside Rack System adds modular mounting panels to the inside walls of a normally featureless truck bed, enabling users to quickly and securely mount their choice of tools, equipment and accessories. These OEM fit and finish steel panels require no modification. Easy installation with basic hand tools!

2018 SEMA Launch Pad Finalists

Ryan Amesbury, NeoCharge
Product: LevelUp
The LevelUp allows Electric Vehicle owners to install a fast (Level 2) charger in their garage without having to pay an electrician $1,000 to install a 240 volt outlet. This (Level 2) charger, increases the charging speed from 4 miles to 25 miles of range per hour of charge.

Matt Beenen, BuiltRight Industries
Product: Storage and Organizational Solutions
The BuiltRight Industries Bedside Rack System adds modular mounting panels to the inside walls of a normally featureless truck bed, enabling users to quickly and securely mount their choice of tools, equipment and accessories. These OEM fit and finish steel panels require no modification. Easy installation with basic hand tools!

Todd Earsley, My Shop Assist
Product: My Shop Assist
My Shop Assist is a web-based project management system designed specifically for aftermarket shops. You can schedule jobs, delegate tasks, log hours, track parts orders, store pictures, create invoices, determine employee efficiency, and communicate progress to the customers. It even integrates with QuickBooks to track your accounting.

Stephen Hale, Stohd Outdoor
Product: Exoskeleton Utility Trail Door
The Stohd Exoskeleton is a patented trail door system for Jeep Wranglers. The doors have a unique protruding design to which specially engineered attachments are mounted, such as folding chairs, camp stools, lockable high impact dry/cool storage boxes, recovery gear/ramps, off-road tools, first aid kits and more!

Jonathan Hurley, ToolBox Widget, LLC
Product: ToolBox Widget
ToolBox Widget, the first 100% modular tool organizing system for your toolbox. Our individual wrench organizers allow the customer to add or subtract the amount of holders as needed, allowing for complete customization of their toolbox. Features include; strong magnets, missing tool indicators, changeable size labels and a flexible material.

Zach Kowalik, Quick Covers
Product: Quick Covers Corrosion Solutions
Quick Covers are precision-molded plastic covers that fit snugly over rusty areas on your vehicle. They restore the original appearance, yet cost only a fraction of the price of traditional repair. They can’t rust, and combined with a corrosion inhibiting pretreatment, will provide a like-new appearance for years.

Christopher Owens, Creative Fabrication and Coatings
Product: Last Drop Wrench
The Last Drop Wrench allows you to drain filters in a safe and controlled manner before removal by puncturing them while still attached making the traditional messy oil change a thing of the past. Any other oil filter tool just leaves you burnt and cleaning up an unnecessary mess.

Kansas Sartin, PAKMULE, LLC
Product: Automotive Cargo Products
PAKMULE is a fully TIG welded beast of a cargo carrier. 100% aluminum, PAKMULE will never rust, weighs a mere 42lbs and yet is burly enough to handle 500lbs of cargo! Designed to easily secure and access all your gear, while our proprietary locking, anti-wobble connection keeps everything secure.

George Schafer, SMS Auto Parts Co.
Product: Exposed Racks
Exposed Racks is a patented roof rack system that has zero effect on vehicle aerodynamics when not in use – installs permanently yet exposed, without effort, only when needed. The ‘Quick Clip’ system allows user to click-in accessories, such as kayak mounts, in less than one second. Fits various vehicle rooftops.

Ed Uehling, King Tailgates
Product: KT1
The KT1 is an upgraded aftermarket replacement option for OEM tailgates. Our utility-patented design splits the construction of a standard tailgate to allow for the incorporation of enclosed seating, dual oversized cup holders, a removable Bluetooth speaker, and USB charging ports.

2018 HOST

James Pumphrey

Donut Media

James Pumphrey is the head writer at Donut Media, the fastest growing automotive network on the internet. He hosts Up to Speed, The New Car Show, Hot Laps, Car Boys, and had one line in Two Broke Girls in 2008- a fact he likes to make known on a regular basis. He’s deceivingly tall and knowingly loud. James is dedicating this hosting gig to all the children around the world.