The SEMA Launch Pad powered by YEN is the premiere young entrepreneur automotive competition. The program offers innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39 a platform at the world’s largest B2B gathering—the SEMA Show—to pitch their business to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event. Ten finalists will compete for the ultimate prize designed to take their product to the next level through brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more!

Program Timeline

  • Applications due: June 4, 2018
  • 15 semi-finalists selected: June 7, 2018
  • Semi-finalists film three-minute pitch video at the 2018 SEMA Exhibitor Summit in Las Vegas: June 25-27, 2018
  • Voting Period: July 30-September 6, 2018
  • 10 finalists will be notified: September 7, 2018
  • SEMA Launch Pad Live Event: October 29, 2018 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas
  • SEMA Launch Pad Roundtable: October 31, 2018 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas

Prize Packages


  • The finalist 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 2019 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 Data Co-op: 50% off supplier monthly membership fees for your first year (up to a $3,600 value)
  • SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Network: Distribution/sales support consultation meeting
  • Family Events Group Event Marketing/Advertising package worth $5,000. (Note: this is non-transferable and must be used within one year)

FINALISTS PRIZE: 10 participants

  • The semi-finalist prizes plus:
  • 2018 SEMA Show kiosk booth in the Performance Pavilion*
  • 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.
  • FREE registration to the 2018 Exhibitor Summit with three nights of hotel and meals at the event (June 21 & June 22)
  • $500 award to be used toward flight cost to the 2018 Exhibitor Summit.
  • Widespread awareness of your business through SEMA communication channels

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 2018 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.

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 2018 SEMA Show on November 2, 2018)
  • 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.

Meet the Host!

Clarence Barnes

TV & Radio Peronality

TV & Radio host, actor and a former news anchor, who’s obsession with cars has turned a lifelong hobby into a full blown career. Known to his friends as the guy who can’t drive across town without looking into every open garage door along the way. Clarence grew up around his father’s moving company and used car lot fixing, flipping and eventually racing cars he put together from parts scavenged from the want-ads.

Enthusiasts and fans know Clarence as the Motorsports host for Hot Rod Magazine’s Power Tour & Engine Masters Challenge, Roadkill Drags, Motor Trend Truck of the Year, Car Craft Nationals, Mopar Nats, The Great Race, SEMA Ignited, Lincoln Tech Tips, Castrol Edge, Hyundai, Mercedes, Harley Davidson and most recently the face of the Luken Network’s newest property, RevnTV.

Judging Criteria

All Launch Pad finalists will compete in the live event at the 2018 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.