Entrepreneur Traits and Major Boundaries or Challenges of Social Enterprises; Fairphone Case Study

Executive Summary

The primary aim of the report is to explore the Entrepreneurship and the relevant features and characteristics that are required for carrying on the position of an entrepreneur. The report presents the characteristics and traits of an entrepreneur through an exploration of the Fairphone company whose Chief Executive Officer is Bas Van Abel and the features that he has been carrying in his entrepreneur execution would be explored and discussed thoroughly. This would be followed by the challenges, and the boundaries that social enterprises faces and get a limit drawn for its working. The entire report would be based on the entrepreneur perspective and would help in gaining knowledge of traits, characteristics and challenges that an entrepreneur faces.


The creator and the establisher of a business bearing all the risk and uncertainties is the one who can be called an entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs are the ones who create a business in the face of risk and uncertainty with a motive to earn a handsome profit and grow the business through grabbing the available opportunities and making the optimal use of the available resources (Dees, 2017). The activities and the most vital part of entrepreneurship are the decision making capability of the entrepreneur which depends on the traits, and the characteristics of the entrepreneur would be explored on the basis of Fair phone entrepreneur Bas van Abel who is the CEO of the company. Abel has been successful in his initiative of holding campaign of Fair phone along with Peter van de Mark who was a public relations expert, with an aim to reveal the exploitation of the minerals by the smartphone manufacturers. This initiative turned out to an establishment of business because of following the perfect traits and characteristics of and entrepreneurship. Abel exploited the trait of breaking the rules, creativity, and flexibility and the features which accompanied these traits included a preference for moderate levels of risk, high level of energy and valued achievement over money (Kuratko, 2016). These traits and characteristics have helped Abel in being a successful entrepreneur, and in future, it is expected that he would achieve his business goal too. The report would also examine the challenges that an entrepreneur face in social enterprises through exploring the Fair phone example.

Analysis of Entrepreneur Traits and Characteristics

Fair phones have been observed to enjoy them in a gradual increase in its demand, and this could be the consequence of the actions and the decisions made by its entrepreneur CEO, that is Abel. He has been following certain traits of entrepreneurship which could be observed through exploring the entire working of the company since its establishment. He even achieved an award in 2018, the Global Economy Prize, for establishing an eco-friendly manufacturing company. The smartphone companies have been exploiting the available resources which impacted the environment, and thus Abel has taken up this perspective to present the darker side of the smartphone companies which helped him in putting light on his company. 

  1. Abel has rightly exploited the trait of breaking the rules, as he was successful in thinking out of the box and creating some new ways of manufacturing mobile phones (Vanet al. 2016). All the smartphone companies have been exploiting the resources but Fair phone brought up new eco-friendly resource which would not pollute the environment, and the resources would be saved too. Fair phone utilises the re-cycled and eco-friendly products, which has gained public attention, and this has helped the company in gaining a huge demand in the global market. 
  2. The creativity characteristic of Abel has been the actual reason for his success, and the way he has brought in a new idea of creating and manufacturing a phone which has a removable battery and screen for which special technicians are required as in case of Apple is required. Abel has exploited the creativity trait of entrepreneurship, and it also exploited the competitive feature of the same.
  3. The competitive feature has been reflected in Abel as he has provided a product, which is completely different from all its substitutes and carries a feature of being environment-friendly, which would attract the customers accurately.
  4. Abel knew the importance of flexibility in executing the entrepreneur services, and he made the right use of it, which was reflected, in his action of dealing with his labours and technicians. The manufacturing unit in China carried some flexible working hours, which helped the company in gaining the goodwill of the workers, and thus this helped him in achieving higher productivity level (Aboal and Veneri, 2016).
  5. Entrepreneurs have to face the moderate levels of risk which was taken up by Abel in a smart way as he examined the public reaction through the campaign where the fair phones were displayed as samples and the features and manufacturing process was explained in a thorough basis.
  6. The energy of the entrepreneurs reflects the enthusiasm and the actual motivation that he provides to its employees, workers build up the positive energy in the company, and thus, the productivity of the company is enhanced. Abel has been exploiting this characteristic of entrepreneurship which could be seen in the facilities which he provided to his workers, through higher wages, and use of raw materials which were mined using local companies employed safer conditions and benefit to the community. The traits and the features which Abel has exploited in the most thorough manner has been the key features of an entrepreneur, and the success that Abel has been achieving justifies the traits and characteristics (Carraher et al. 2016).
  7. He has always valued achievements more than profit, which helped him in gaining public attention as well as heading towards success. 

Major Boundaries or Challenges of Social Enterprises

Social Enterprise is the sole body to manage the entire business, and this brings on the risk and uncertainties to the business. The challenges and the boundaries of these businesses are wide and the management if not done accurately then the consequences could be huge and drastic. The three major boundaries which social enterprises could face or faces are as follows

  1. Change in Country’s Economy: The social enterprises are the ones which get hugely impacted by a downfall in the economy of the country. Any economy factor if falls, it has a direct consequence on the social enterprises, this is because the funding and the finances of the social enterprises are generally through crowdfunding or charities which gets impacted by the economy and thus, the enterprise workings get disturbed. The Fair Phones has been crowdfunded in its initial stage and had the economy of the home country been down falling, and then the company would not have gathered the sufficient amount of funding and the manufacturing set up would not have been set. 
  2. Increasing Competition: Competition is one of the ingredients of business which creates a boundary or a challenge for all the business, no matter to which domain or category it falls into. In social enterprises, the completion is high as the sole decision maker carries limited capability and concepts which limits the boundary of tackling the increasing competition and this creates a challenge for the business to sustain (Kickul and Lyons, 2016). Abel has been one of the special entrepreneurs who has rightly managed the increasing competition through standing out of the crowd, but there exists a wide scope in the future, of increasing competition which could create the challenge for him to operate elaborately in the market. 
  3. Retaining Social Purpose: As the company grows and expands, the working capability of the company increases along with the increase in the employees and the workers who need to be paid back. The returning from the business has to be large enough to keep the employees, and the workers satisfied for working in the enterprise, and this creates a place of concentrating more on finances or profits to be gained through business more than the social cause. Abel has been favouring the social cause of reducing the exploitation of the available resources by the smartphone companies and create eco-friendly phones, but along with the increase in the business size, the demand for the finance would also increase which could divert him from the social cause that he intends to serve.

These challenges and boundaries are common to all the social enterprises and need to be concentrated sensitively so that the business could maintain its sustainability and progress gradually.


Fair phone exploration has exemplified the traits and characteristics of an entrepreneur in the most relevant manner and the characteristics and traits that Abel has utilised in his actions of an entrepreneur reflect the most justified concept of the mentioned traits and features. The out of box thinking, creativity, flexibility, competitiveness, value achievement more than profit, enthusiasm, moderate level of risks and many more have been discussed through relating it to Abel, and his achievements have justified each and every trait and characteristics. The entire report has explored the features of the entrepreneur and the challenges that a social enterprise faces and this has revealed the actual and the key concepts of the same. The major challenges that social enterprises face have been explored in the context of Fair phones, and it has rightly marked the issues or boundaries that the company faced. The country’s economy, increasing competition and the sustainability or retaining the social cause, are the three most vital challenges that limit the working of the social enterprises and some significant steps are required for mitigating these challenges. Overall the report has acknowledged all the vital aspects of entrepreneurship and has provided accurate information.


Aboal, D. and Veneri, F., 2016. Entrepreneurs in Latin America. Small Business Economics46(3), pp.503-525.

Carraher, S.M., Welsh, D.H. and Svilokos, A., 2016. Validation of a measure of social entrepreneurship. European Journal of International Management10(4), pp.386-402.

Dees, J.G., 2017. 1 The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship. In Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability(pp. 34-42). Routledge.

Kerr, S.P., Kerr, W.R. and Xu, T., 2018. Personality traits of entrepreneurs: A review of recent literature. Foundations and Trends® in Entrepreneurship14(3), pp.279-356.

Kickul, J. and Lyons, T.S., 2016. Understanding social entrepreneurship: The relentless pursuit of mission in an ever changing world. Routledge.

Kuratko, D.F., 2016. Entrepreneurship: Theory, process, and practice. Cengage Learning.

Van Ness, R.K. and Seifert, C.F., 2016. A theoretical analysis of the role of characteristics in entrepreneurial propensity. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal10(1), pp.89-96.

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