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Join us for IdeaBounce® on Thurs, Nov 7th from 5:30-7:30 to pitch your ideas, get feedback & make connections!


IdeaBounce® is an opportunity to pitch your idea, no matter how “half-baked”. Inventors, founders, startups and creatives from all across the region, and those interested in supporting them, are invited to attend.

As the Small Business Revolution continues to spread, please join Alton Main Street, the Skandalaris Center at Washington University in St. Louis, and Alton Rising - Riverbend Incubator for Startups, Innovation, and New Growth, for a fun, fast paced elevator pitch competition and networking event featuring the area's best and brightest!

Everyone will have two minutes to deliver an elevator pitch on their idea in the auditorium at Simmons Hanly Conroy (#1 Court Street in Alton, IL), and we will then convene at a reception in the beautiful rooftop garden to support the ideas in moving forward.

15 people will be chosen to present a 2-minute pitch. To submit your idea for consideration please fill out this form (Applicants will be informed whether they were chosen as one of the 15 presenters):

To see what others in our community are working on, visit https://skandalaris.wustl.edu/ideabounce/ and browse the ideas or use the search function to focus on different sectors and keywords. If you think an idea is cool, give them a thumbs up! If you can help with the idea, click the message button and send a note to the poster.

$1,000 in prize money will be awarded by a panel of esteemed judges to assist with advancing the ideas, and everyone who pitches will receive a $10 gift certificate to the The Old Bakery Beer Company for participating!

Together we are committed to helping entrepreneurs, artists and existing business owners achieve the next level of success in Downtown Alton. 



Alton Main Street and its partners are available to help entrepreneurs and small businesses navigate any obstacles they may face. “Our goal is to provide guidance, resources and information.” said Penny Schmidt who serves on the Economic Vitality Committee for Alton Main Street, “Providing entrepreneurs and creatives with access to this high-quality expertise enables them, and Alton, to flourish.”

Alton is fertile ground for entrepreneurs to grow and thrive.  For many communities like Alton, fostering startups and small business growth has been the key to transitioning from a formerly manufacturing-based economy. The concept of fostering entrepreneurship to accelerate urban revitalization has been embraced by a wide spectrum of supporters, from artists and cultural organizations to business leaders and financial institutions.

The event is presented by Alton Main Street, with support from Washington University, Alton RISING, Simmons Hanly Conroy, Mathis, Marifian & Richter, LTD., the City of Alton, the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Riverbender.com, The Telegraph, AdVantage, and WBGZ Radio.


Watch our promotional video on the variety of ways
that Alton Main Street is supporting
our community's artisan business culture!

Watch the full-length video of our workshop
presented in Downtown Alton in 2016 on

“Developing the Creative Economy
Alton's Broadway Corridor”

On April 22nd, 2016 a workshop presented by Alton Main Street, Simmons Hanly Conroy, and Liberty Bank broadcasted that Downtown Alton, especially the Broadway corridor, is fertile ground for creative entrepreneurs to grow and thrive. The event was at Jacoby Arts Center, located at 627 E. Broadway in Alton, IL, in the heart of Alton’s emerging creative district.

For many communities similar to Alton, fostering small business growth has been the key to transitioning from a formerly manufacturing-based economy. Creative enterprises create jobs, improve quality of life, and are an important complement to community development activities. Such shops and services attract other young professionals and tourists to our area. Often, larger companies make decisions about where to locate their businesses based on the availability of a creative workforce, as well as the quality of life that a town rich in the arts offers to its employees. The Downtown Alton district has long been a hub for many classic creative enterprises, such as visual arts and media, but attendees of the workshop were encouraged to broaden their horizons on what fields are considered creative, to include industries such as: architecture, crafts, culinary, cultural, design, fashion, film, publishing, software development and technology.

Kicking off the workshop from 3:00-5:00 p.m., Pam Schallhorn, Community Economic Development Educator from University of Illinois Extension, gave a presentation called “Developing A Creative Economy”. Attendees learned how residents, business and property owners, civic organizations, and city officials can create an environment where these types of businesses will choose to open their doors.

From 5:00-6:00 p.m., the audience enjoyed a live "Shark Tank" style session, where creative entrepreneurs delivered 2-minute pitches on the current state of their business, project, or idea and received rapid-fire feedback from a panel of experts. The workshop included appetizers from many local food purveyors.

Finally, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., a “Creative Entrepreneur Cocktail Expo” was held in the main gallery, which was free and open to the public. During the party, creatives browsed informational tables from many organizations, businesses and individuals who offered support to fledgling creative entrepreneurs. They were also able to learn about available real estate, find opportunities to sell their wares, and land contract employment. The event was a supportive atmosphere to network with successful business mentors, financial lenders and media.

“At the event, a jewelry maker will find outlets to consign her work, someone considering an endeavor in the culinary arts can learn about markets for his products, and local performance artists will receive contact info for Downtown venues who are looking to hire their services,” said Sara McGibany, Executive Director of Alton Main Street, “The goal is to provide resources and information. I’ve been involved with many circumstances where a creative entrepreneur is great at their trade, but just needed a little support on their weaker spots in regards to business. Sometimes giving a small business owner advice on where to turn for marketing, financial or real estate help enables them to really flourish.”

The Alton Main Street organization and its partners are available to help small entrepreneurs navigate any obstacles they face in order to take their business to the next level. Developers attended the workshop to learn about investment opportunities in Downtown Alton’s historic district and become acquainted with Alton’s growing creative culture.