Discovering Young Leaders

SEMA News—May 2019


By Juan Torres

Discovering Young Leaders

SEMA will again be giving young business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors opportunities to boost their businesses through the SEMA Launch Pad program. Since 2013, more than 200 innovators have participated in the program, which provides competitors with brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with industry influencers, and a chance to pitch their businesses to industry experts at a live event during the SEMA Show. While one business ultimately wins the competition, all participants receive coverage and exposure while making connections that help their businesses advance. The publications below are examples of the exposure some participants received.

Business 2 CommunityBusiness 2

Erica Abbott did a Q&A article with 2017 SEMA Launch Pad winner Tom Burden, inventor of the Grypmat tool organizer. In the article, Burden described how participating in the Launch Pad program and the “Shark Tank” TV show resulted in ten times more business.


The NewsstandNewsstand

Clemson University students learned about fellow alumnus Steve Owens and his participation in the 2018 SEMA Launch Pad program, thanks to author Rick Uhlmann. Owens and his Last Drop Wrench, which simplifies the oil-change process, were among the 15 semifinalists last year.


Truck TrendTruck Trend

Brett T. Evans gave Truck Trend readers a detailed recap of the 2018 SEMA Launch Pad program. Among the information he provided were the name of judges who helped choose a winner and a description of each product in the final round, including winner Matt Beenen’s Bedside Rack System.


Heard on Social Media

“The SEMA Launch Pad powered by YEN offers innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39 a platform at the world’s largest B2B gathering—the @SEMASHOW—to pitch their businesses to a panel of iconic industry judges at a live event.”—Hot Rod, via Twitter

“Applications are now being accepted for the SEMA Launch Pad competition, which is presented by the association’s Young Executives Network. The deadline to apply is June 4”—Greensheet, via Twitter

“Apparently one of those white chairs is for @seanpholman! Looking forward to helping judge the #semaeducation #semalaunchpad event for young entrepreneurs here in Vegas.”—“Truck Show” Podcast, via Twitter


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