Mayor Walsh with the Glassics Team

From Pitching a Business to Bonding with Peers, Communication is Key

by Vanessa Lazine

DavidDavid Goncalves first joined BUILD after seeing a presentation at Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester. “I thought – why not join? I could learn a lot and meet some new people,” he said. David’s initial instinct – that he would meet new people – quickly became the greatest asset BUILD has offered him.

Freshman year in BUILD proved to be a challenge. David’s team created the product Glassics, which is a fashion accessory for glasses. The team was challenged by the business plan showcases and sometimes felt overwhelmed with the time and effort it took to create a successful business. But he knew that with a strategy development plan, everything would come together. But BUILD volunteer mentors guided David and his teammates throughout the process, giving tips on how to focus on one step at a time. The Glassics team used the advice they were given to their advantage and ended up getting 4th Place in the Business Plan Competition at the end of their freshman year. “We really didn’t expect to pass the first round,” David remembers. “We saw we were the only team from Burke High to move on to the finals. We were astounded.”

Placing in the Competition has not been the only advantage BUILD has given David. He has learned the art of communication, a valuable skill for college and beyond. This is essential for being able to effectively pitch business ideas. To deliver a good pitch, there are some things which you must mention (you can find them at, but without good communication skills, they are redundant. Being able to confidently and adeptly get your point across is the most important thing of all. But not only has David learnt this, he now also participates more in class than he did before joining BUILD.

“I figure, if I can speak in front of a bunch of strangers pitching my business, why not speak up in front of my peers?”

From a quiet student who rarely participated in class, David has become a salesman. He has worked with teammates and mentors, met his team’s investors, taken part in internships, participated in a phone interview, and spoken to an audience of middle school students about BUILD. He is willing to jump at every opportunity to improve his speaking skills.


Glassics are clips to put on your eye glasses that can be decorated in any way you wish to express yourself.

Moving into his Junior year of high school, David will now shift his focus from the entrepreneurial world to preparing for college. At the summer session of BUILD, he is focusing on ACT prep and will be going on college tours this year. He knows his strengths are reading and math and is committed to focusing on writing and science. In addition, David wants to enhance his resume by adding extra-curricular activities. He is interested in debate, football, JROTC (Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps), and NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers).

How has BUILD made all of this possible for David? It all comes back to the relationships formed throughout the program.

“I would say, without BUILD, I wouldn’t have as many friends. It’s a great place to talk about business (as well as life). The people here want to see you succeed.”

David is proof that a little support goes a long way.

Mayor Walsh with the Glassics Team

Mayor Marty Walsh poses with David and the Glassics Team at the grand opening of BUILD’s youth business incubator in Dorchester.

David is working hard so he can achieve a goal he’s had since middle school: to attend MIT. By continuing in BUILD’s program, focusing on his academics, and joining new clubs, David hopes to get accepted to MIT or another prestigious school. “I would say that BUILD has made going to MIT seem possible. BUILD is helping to make my dream a reality.”


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Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

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1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.