SEMA has recently created two programs that help foster automotive careers, either as innovators and entrepreneurs or as students seeking a professional career. In this article we dive into both programs, who they target, how they can help you and where to get more information or to apply.
SEMA Launch Pad for Automotive Entrepreneurs
If you’re passionate about cars and have turned that passion into a business by inventing your own part, accessory or even if you have been kicking around a groundbreaking idea, we’ve discovered a resource that may exist just for people like you.
Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, offers a program called Launch Pad which is an accelerator program run by the Young Entrepreneurs Network (YEN). This program is for young inventors (between 18-39) who have contributed to automotive accessory or equipment innovation.
Winners of this annual competition receive a prize package worth about $25,000. Ten thousand of which is a check presented to the owner to help the business grow. In many cases, the experience of completions like this can make a big difference in the function of a new product as well as in the maturity of a company. You tend to pick up tips, tricks and invaluable information to help your product succeed even if you don’t win.
The process includes applying to the program. Then, there is a period where you receive feedback through a public weigh in. Finally a committee selects the best of the programs applicants. The finalists are pulled together and showcased at the annual SEMA show, which draws 10s of thousands of people in the automotive industry. This year the show was virtual due to being Covided (I’m not sure if that’s a real word but I feel like it should be), and the finalists showcase went down in Los Angeles.
For 2020, the prize went to a company called Impulse for it’s battery-powered wireless pulsating emergency brake light. It’s designed to “reduce rear-end collisions under extreme breaking conditions” and can be “installed on the rear window of any car or truck”. (SEMA News, January 2021)
At ShiftAtlanta, we love supporting entrepreneurs (because we ARE entrepreneurs) so if you’re considering starting or trying to grow your own automotive business (parts, equipment, service or otherwise, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can help keep you moving forward.
More information: SEMA Launch Pad
Scholarships and Loan Forgiveness
If you are in school, working on a degree or certificate in the automotive field OR are currently working in the automotive field but are still paying off your student loans, there may also be some help available for you. SEMA is offering both scholarships and loan forgiveness assistance to help ease the financial burden many experienced during 2020.
If you are currently in school, would like to go to school, or still carrying student debt (and work for an automotive company that is a SEMA member), check out the link below to see if you qualify for financial assistance.
More information: SEMA Scholarships and Loan Forgiveness