The top 10 innovators in the 2018 SEMA Launch Pad powered by YEN program have been announced and now advance to the final stage of the contest, a live product-pitching event held at the 2018 SEMA Show. Open to entrepreneurs and business owners ages 18 to 39, Launch Pad is an entrepreneur automotive competition that takes place annually at the SEMA Show.
The finalists were selected via an online public vote and will have an opportunity the Monday before the official start of the 2018 SEMA Show to win valuable resources to help build their brands. The grand-prize winner of this year’s SEMA Launch Pad competition will receive $10,000, booth space at the 2019 SEMA Show, free promotional support and more.
“The public has been instrumental in helping us identify the top 10 finalists from the more than 85 young innovators who entered this year’s program,” Nick Caloroso, SEMA Launch Pad task force chair. “The finalists will now make a live five-minute pitch before a panel of distinguished judges.”
Greg Adler (Transamerican Auto Parts), Ron Coleman (COMP Performance Group), Vaughn Gittin Jr. (president-RTR Vehicles/World Champion Drifter), Wade Kawasaki (Coker Group and SEMA chairman) and Sean Holman (Motor Trend Group and The Truck Show Podcast with Lightning & Holman) will make up the panel of experts who will determine this year’s SEMA Launch Pad winner.
The top 10 finalists of the 2018 SEMA Launch Pad program are:
- George Schafer (SMS Auto Parts Co.); Product: Exposed Racks
- Kansas Sartin (PAKMULE, LLC) Product: Automotive Cargo Products
- Jonathan Hurley (ToolBox Widget LLC); Product: ToolBox Widget
- Matt Beenen (BuiltRight Industries); Product: Storage & Organizational Solutions
- Christopher Owens (Creative Fabrication & Coatings); Product: Last Drop Wrench
- Stephen Hale (Stohd Outdoor); Product: Exoskeleton Utility Trail Door
- Zach Kowalik (Quick Covers); Product: Quick Covers Corrosion Solutions
- Ed Uehling (King Tailgates); Product: KT1
- Ryan Amesbury (Amped Technologies); Product: LevelUp
- Todd Earsley (My Shop Assist); Product: My Shop Assist
The live pitching, which will be hosted by James Pumphrey from Donut Media, takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, in the Westgate Hotel and Casino Theater, where hundreds of automotive-driven students will witness the action. Since 2013, more than 200 young entrepreneurs and innovators in the automotive industry have competed in the SEMA Launch Pad program, which gives emerging business owners an opportunity to boost their automotive products or services.
For more information about the SEMA Launch Pad program and this year’s top 10 finalists, visit sema.org/launchpad.