Regardless of rain or shine, technological development doesn’t stop. This fact was never more evident than at the Inaugural Virtual Enterprises International Venture Challenge as they celebrated the Magic of Entrepreneurship. Held recently high in the sky of a Tribeca Loft, hundreds gathered, with representatives from Viacom and JPMorgan Chase, to witness the business development projects young people have on their minds.

Virtual Enterprises International is a national educational nonprofit program that transforms students into young professionals by giving them the opportunity to create and run business ventures. The organization partners with educators, business leaders and industry professionals to assist students in developing a business idea to the point of establishing and running simulated companies that replicate all the functions and demands should their idea become a real business. Present at the gala were several of the many outstanding students who participated in the program. During their study, students learn how to write a business plan, design and implement an e-commerce website and recruit and market to clients and customers within a global economy. Currently more than 12,000 students across the U.S., many from underserved communities, are VE students, who are connected to a global network of more than 7,500 student-run companies across 40 countries.

Funds raised from the gala, which included exciting auction items guests just couldn’t resist, are used to support students in launching the businesses of their dreams. According to Iris Blanc, executive director, VEI, and Ashley Fina, board of directors and chair, “The VE experience creates an entrepreneurial mindset and allows business thinking to flourish in the classroom. As a result, many students develop innovative ideas for real businesses during their time in VE. Through the new Venture Challenge, VE will provide budding entrepreneurs with opportunities to transform their concepts into viable businesses through mentorship, education, financial support and real-world business partnerships.” This type of environment is what transforms minds, lives, families, communities and ultimately, the world.

Joseph P. DeLaney (no relations, although you never know), a longtime strong supporter and believer in VE, was on hand to present the Joseph P. DeLaney Alumni Award to Jerry Dieudonne. The award was established to recognize VE alumni who not only demonstrate success in their careers but also embody the combination of leadership, professionalism and dedication exemplified by business leaders and VE Champions. Dieudonne is all that.

Among the special guests was Noah Gutierrez, a student at Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem. Gutierrez is a distinguished student athlete who has exemplified academic excellence and resilience. Having made the Principal’s Honor Roll, Gutierrez is also a national champion contender on the Harlem Jets football team. He was named an eighth-grade All-American contender and serves as vice president of VICTORIES, the very first VE-JV company at the Eagle Academy. To view the competition results, photos, videos and social media stories for the 2017 Youth Business Summit, go to

If you missed the Harlem Eat-up, have no fear. The Taste Harlem Food and Cultural Tours is here to give you a taste of what you’ve been missing. Although many of us know Harlem and its food like the backs of our hands, there are those who still yearn for the flavor. The company provides an expert Harlem guide to discover the very best of Harlem, along with its heritage and history, with an international food-tasting tour. To check availability and purchase tickets, go to or call the Zerve ticket center at 212-209-3370. If you want to make a party of it, call 212-866-7427 for group rates or email Remember to come hungry.

If you want something a little more personal and sedate, then check out piano nights and jazz with Jax Gabriel, every Friday night at Savann, Mediterranean Cuisine. There is a bar happy hour from noon to 7 p.m. during the week (except for Mondays when it’s 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), a brunch prix-fixe menu on the weekends and lunch prix-fixe during the week. I had a fish dish there that was absolutely delicious. Amazing how hard it is to get a good fish entrée that isn’t fried in a fast-food place. Get it at the counter and serve yourself at the table eatery, located at 122nd Street and Eighth Avenue.

Condolences to my cousins Cordell Jr. and Darien Palmer and the Foster family of the St. Nicholas projects on the passing of my aunt, Gwendolyn Ivory Palmer. Aunt Gwen was married to my mother’s middle brother, Cordell Sr. Billy Palmer. Gwen was an employee of Bellevue Hospital for more than 30 years and remembered fondly. She passed peacefully and now she’ll rest in peace knowing job well done.

If you think chic is out and grunge is in, think again. Nile Rodgers, lead singer of the group Chic, was awarded the Caron Artist Award, presented to him before the more than 650 guests who attended the Caron New York Recovery Center 23rd Annual New York City Gala. The gala raised a record $1.5 million to benefit Caron’s Patient Scholarship Fund for adolescent and young adult addicted individuals and families. Honored along with Rodgers were Elaine and Ken Langone with the Richard J. Caron Award of Excellence.

While we’re speaking of chic, J. McLaughlin, the American clothing brand outfitting style since 1977, partnered with CIVITAS, an Upper East Side and East Harlem community-based organization working to improve the urban environment by advocating for better land use, zoning, transportation, clean air, water and public access to the waterfront (really?), as hosts for an evening of cocktails and shopping. Seen mixing and mingling at the store’s Madison Avenue location were Robin and Alicia Rivera and Jacqueline Gregg. McLaughlin’s brother Kevin is on the CIVITAS board.

For all of you animal lovers out there, the Animal Medical Center’s Ninth Annual Living Legends Luncheon was held with nearly 200 guests in attendance, raising nearly $300,000 to benefit the Animal Medical Center. And that’s nothing to bark at.

Until next week… kisses.