Romeo Ware: leading the way for fellow Black entrepreneurs

Romeo Ware is a self-confessed serial entrepreneur. He started his first business in Toronto when he was just 15 years old.

Over 17 years, Romeo has developed and grown several successful tech start-ups and apps, including the Hockey Hall of Fame’s virtual tours. Throughout most of his career, Romeo was troubled by the lack of diverse representation in his space. In recent years, he’s noticed a positive shift with more women and visible minorities starting to pursue successful careers in technology. However, he’s troubled by the disrespectful and inequitable treatment that he and his Black friends endure consistently from financial institutions, even as long-time customers.

Romeo is sharing his experiences, insights and tips as a mentor at the Black Innovation Fellowship, an initiative of Ryerson University’s DMZ, a leading incubator for tech start-ups in Canada. His advice to other Black entrepreneurs: be resilient, learn from others and share your struggles and triumphs in a supportive community of fellow innovators.

He is also the CEO of StonePaper, a start-up with five employees that provides secure, end-to-end supply chain tracking for digital and physical assets. The company’s bread & butter was a blockchain solution for film and TV production companies. When the pandemic hit and his clients shut down operations, StonePaper’s revenues vanished almost overnight.

Romeo and his team were able to stay afloat by pivoting quickly and customizing their platform for other sectors, including healthcare. Along with Molecular You and the University of British Columbia, StonePaper is involved with Personal Health Wallet, a Digital Technology Supercluster project that leverages open source, blockchain technology to enable Canadians to securely store and share their personal health information.

The long-term goal is a personal health wallet for every interested Canadian to confidently upload and share their health information with approved parties, and a reward system that encourages usage and positive behavioural changes – contributing to improved health and wellness.

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