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Reputed Entrepreneur Luke Burgis Begins Business Startup Program for Teenagers

When Luke Burgis ventured to Silicon Valley to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, he had no inkling that his path would lead him to seminary and eventually to spearheading entrepreneurship initiatives for Catholic students.

With a background that included education at NYU, stints on Wall Street, and ventures in Silicon Valley before settling in Las Vegas, Burgis felt a yearning for deeper purpose in his life. Encouraged by a friend, he rediscovered his Catholic faith. Despite spending five years in seminary, he ultimately decided against pursuing the priesthood. Nonetheless, he continued to seek greater significance in his professional endeavours.

In 2020, Burgis established the Catholic Entrepreneurship and Design Experience (CEDE), aiming to help students nationwide align their professional pursuits with their faith. Fast forward four years, CEDE has flourished into an organization headquartered at the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., offering programs and educational resources globally. Burgis now serves as the entrepreneur-in-residence and assistant clinical professor of business at CUA. Alongside teaching business courses, he has developed educational materials utilized by Catholic schools and home-schooling communities.

“I didn’t understand how I could actually live out my values and be a Catholic in the business world that I was in, even after I’d had that reconversion experience,” Burgis said when asked what inspired him to found CEDE.

“But I knew that there was some gap that we had to close in Catholic education between the theoretical or the principles of Catholic social teaching and the way that it actually plays out on the ground, if you’re trying to start something,” he explained. “We launched CEDE to try to reintegrate these disciplines.”

This year, Burgis is initiating a fresh endeavour for CEDE: a summer entrepreneurship program designed for high school students. The 10-week virtual Startup Venture Challenge aims to equip high school students with the knowledge and skills to embark on entrepreneurial ventures.

“CEDE introduces students to fundamental principles of entrepreneurship, all while integrating the values of Catholic social teaching. It empowers them to recognize that they are the architects of their own destinies, irrespective of whether they choose to launch a business,” Burgis explained.

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