WHY - CEDE Program for High Schools

The world needs a revolution in

Catholic Entrepreneurship

The term “entrepreneur” seems to have too narrow a definition these days. It calls to mind a Silicon Valley startup owner looking for venture capital for the next gaming app. In the broadest sense, though, a true entrepreneur is someone who creates real human value in the world. A student, a nurse, a mom, and a truck driver can all be entrepreneurs: they can all find ways to develop the world around them, serve the needs of others, and live a fulfilling life.

This course aims to teach students entrepreneurial thought and skills in light of Catholic theology — to create a new generation of Catholics who are inspired by God to make a meaningful impact in the workplace and beyond.


CEDE helps students find

Purpose & Meaning

What does a student get out of CEDE?

 Too often teens are waiting for real life to begin. Thinking their life starts in the future when they are adults, living on their own, and free to do as they want – but this leads to apathy and a lack of meaning and purpose in their life today. CEDE helps to shape students’ thinking so they can see how their life is meaningful already. Students experience the ways they create real value in their lives and the lives of others. They embrace how their lives have meaning and purpose right now.

CEDE students have a deeper understanding of how God is calling them to live. CEDE helps students understand and appreciate their personal vocation – the unique person God has called them to become.

CEDE develops in students an appreciation for the dignity of work. Work brings out our talents, interests, and creativity and helps us to become more fully who God created us to be. Through work we can create a positive impact on the people around us. Through work we become more human.

Created by

Leading Catholic Entrepreneurs

Seeing a desperate need for renewal in the world of Catholic entrepreneurship, these organizations joined together to create a program that changes hearts and minds and develops the next generation of youth into faithful entrepreneurs.

The result is CEDE: an accessible, interactive course for high school students, supported by the resources and expertise of leading organizations in Catholic education.

Meet our team

Luke Burgis

Creator & Advisory Board chair

Luke Burgis has founded and led four companies in wellness, consumer products, and technology. He’s currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director of Programs at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship where he also teaches business at The Catholic University of America. Luke has started and serves on the board of several new K-12 education initiatives. He studied business at NYU’s Stern School of Business and philosophy and theology at a pontifical university in Rome. He’s Managing Partner of Fourth Wall Ventures, an incubator he founded to build, train, and invest in people and companies that contribute to a healthy human ecology. 

Maureen McNeill

Associate Director

Maureen McNeill is the Associate Director of the Catholic Entrepreneurship and Design Experience (CEDE). She hosts hands-on entrepreneurship workshops and runs the Startup Venture Challenge. Previous to this role, Maureen worked as a teacher at a Catholic high school for 6 years where she introduced and taught the CEDE course for 2 years.  Now she guides schools through the process of introducing and teaching the CEDE course at their school.

Maureen is an alumna of The Catholic University of America with her bachelors degrees in Theology and Philosophy. She has her Masters in Theology from Providence College where her thesis focused on the philosophy of Christian friendship.

Jon Bachura

Director, Spirit of Entrepreneurship Challenge

Jon is a strategist, writer, philosopher, facilitator, instruction and pedagogy designer, and amateur comic. He is an epiphany junkie, awesomeness evangelist, and a fan of the Oxford Comma. A graduate of Emporia State University, Jon has worked for small businesses and entrepreneurs since he was 10 years old. In 2009, Jon graduated from the Koch Associate
Program, one of the educational programs operated by the Charles Koch Institute, where he learned to apply the science of human action to systems, markets, and entrepreneurship. Jon believes that all of us are born to solve problems for profit.

Andreas Widmer

director of the ciocca center

Andreas E. Widmer is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and the director of the Art & Carlyse Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business & Economics. Previously he co-founded The SEVEN Fund, a philanthropic organization promoting enterprise solutions to poverty. Widmer is a seasoned business executive with experience in high-tech, international business strategy, consulting and economic development. He served as CEO of the business strategy firm OTF Group (formerly part of the Monitor Group) and helped lead web content management pioneer Eprise Corporation, speech recognition pioneer Dragon Systems, and internet pioneer FTP Software.

He has worked extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, has brought more than 100 leading-edge technology products to market, and was an executive in residence at Highland Capital Partners. Andreas is the author of The Pope & The CEO: Pope Saint John Paul II’s Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard, a book exploring leadership lessons that Widmer learned serving as a Swiss Guard protecting Pope John Paul II and refined during his career as a successful business executive.

Rebecca Teti

Director of Operations

Rebecca Ryskind Teti comes to the Ciocca Center after a career in the non-profit world, and as a popular columnist and speaker on practical applications of Catholic spirituality and Catholic Social Thought, and the role of women in the Church. 

Willam Cueto

Founding Partner & Advisor

William is a graduate of Marymount University where he earned a degree in business administration and of St. Thomas University where he earned his law degree. William’s 20 plus year career consists of working for a Fortune 200 company in the business services industry as a corporate executive, leading global compliance requirements.

Part of his role involved leading the government relations function and serving as the company’s Washington health care reform representative to the leading policy and advocacy arm of Fortune 500 companies, working with corporate and government officials through stages of health care reform.

In support of Church ministry, William led the establishment of an international young men’s Catholic student residence in Miami, created and hosted a EWTN cable series, Builders of Hope, and became admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of a plaintiff group that attempted to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Tim Navone

In the Fall of 2020 we opened our Principled Entrepreneurship Institute at Marin Catholic and could not have done it without the CEDE curriculum. CEDE has given our students the opportunity to discern their vocation and purpose in life as entrepreneurs in service of our world.

President of Marin Catholic

Andrew Abela

CEDE is a one-of-a-kind program: a dynamic, substantive and flexible high school entrepreneurship curriculum integrating Catholic Social Teaching in a manner that reveals the human person as the proper center of economic life. The program is rich, adaptable, and fun to teach!

Dean of the Busch School of Business

Jack Millar

I have learned the foundations of how to practice Principled Entrepreneurship in today’s business world. Through the CEDE program, I have had to opportunity to speak directly with entrepreneurs to better understand the challenges they face and what motivates them to change the world through business.

CEDE participant


CEDE was easily one of the most impactful courses I took throughout high school because it provided me with skills not only in my career but in everyday life. Learning how to be a Catholic entrepreneur helped me even as a psychology major because it exposed to the true meaning of entrepreneurship which transgresses beyond just business. CEDE gave me the necessary skills to develop the world we live in, serve our community, and strive to live a truly fulfilling life.

CEDE participant

Equip the next generation of business leaders

Help students discover God’s purpose for their lives and transform the world.