May 19, 2023

From Rejection to Resilience: The Inspiring Story of the Village Summit and its Impact

From Rejection to Resilience: The Inspiring Story of the Village Summit and its Impact
May 19, 2023

From Rejection to Resilience: The Inspiring Story of the Village Summit and its Impact

Alex Irigoyen
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer
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The entrepreneurial spirit knows no age limits, and for one young entrepreneur, the journey from starring in a Disney show to hosting the Village Summit was filled with unexpected challenges and remarkable successes. In this article, we explore the story behind the inception of the Village Summit, the struggles faced, and the ultimate triumphs achieved, all while navigating the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. From pitching the idea to creating a comprehensive business plan and securing partnerships, this young entrepreneur's determination and resilience shine through.

From Disney to Entrepreneurship

After securing a role in a Disney show, the individual found themselves speaking on numerous panels, discussing topics like entrepreneurship and building a personal brand. However, they realized that these conferences and panels were often geared towards older, more advanced audiences, leaving them feeling disconnected and wanting something more relevant to their age and experience. Inspired by this realization, they conceived the idea of creating their own conference, tailored to the needs of young entrepreneurs like themselves.

The Birth of the Village Summit

Armed with authentic relationships built through interviews with successful individuals and celebrities, the young entrepreneur set out to bring their vision to life. With a small business plan in hand, they began pitching the concept of the Village Summit. However, faced with initial rejections and frustrations, the journey to finding support for their idea proved to be a challenging one.

A Chance Encounter and the First Summit

During a conference for women in Pennsylvania, the entrepreneur seized an opportunity to share their idea with a representative from Drexel University. Despite their doubts and self-deprecating humor, the representative expressed interest and agreed to set up a meeting. This meeting eventually led to securing a space at Drexel University, although without financial backing. Undeterred, the young entrepreneur took on the task of organizing the conference, driven by their determination to make it a success.

Overcoming Challenges and Creating an Impact

With only a few months to plan and execute, the young entrepreneur embarked on a journey of intense stress and overwhelming responsibilities. Despite financial challenges and the risk of personal debt, they managed to assemble a remarkable conference, complete with engaging panel discussions and a catered lunch. The response from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, affirming the value of their vision and the impact it had on those who attended.

Expanding the Village Summit and Confronting COVID-19

Buoyed by the success of the first Village Summit, the entrepreneur decided to pitch the concept to other universities, including UC Berkeley and Vanderbilt. However, just as they were gaining momentum, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing a shift to virtual events. Undeterred, the entrepreneur embraced the new challenges and successfully hosted virtual summits, albeit with financial limitations.

Building a Sustainable Model

Continuing their journey, the entrepreneur secured paid opportunities with UConn and Central Connecticut State University. These successes provided valuable insights and inspired them to evolve their approach. Instead of relying solely on colleges for financial support, they made the decision to host Grasshopper-sponsored summits in the future, providing a sustainable model for the growth and continuation of the Village Summit.


The story of this young entrepreneur's journey from Disney to hosting the Village Summit showcases the power of passion, determination, and resilience. Through overcoming rejections, organizing a successful conference, and adapting to the challenges brought by a global pandemic, they have created a platform that addresses the unique needs of young entrepreneurs. Their story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and underscores the importance of pursuing innovative ideas and creating opportunities for growth and collaboration.

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