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Social entrepreneurship refers to the concept of initiating a new form of business that looks into the benefits of people more than it considers its own profits. This concept is becoming extremely popular and the general public likes such a business that prefers the common good of society. The same is evident from the example of Fairphone.
Entrepreneurship refers to designing and launching a new business in the market, which is usually unique in its terms and offers something different from the rest of the marketers. The persons running this sort of business are called entrepreneurs (Drucker, 2014, p. 12). There are various kinds of entrepreneurship but recently, a new form of entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly popular in the global market, which is known as Social Entrepreneurship. A prominent example of the initiation and success of a Social Entrepreneurial project can be seen in the form of a case study of Fairphones, a product that started with just a mere concept but now has become extremely popular as a product itself.
Analysis of Entrepreneur traits/characteristics (ie. linking them Fairphone)
Every entrepreneur should have certain traits or characteristics in their personality, in order to run a business successfully. Entrepreneurship requires a great deal of struggle and hard work to make the business running and successful. A person needs to put in a great amount of hard work to make a name in the market. Until unless he or she has got some certain traits in their personality, the business cannot run properly and may fail to stand out of the rest of the business ventures in the market.
The business people getting and running the idea of Fairphone were also carrying these qualities in themselves, which is why Fairphone became such a huge success and managed to make such a big name even in the presence of big smartphone giants like Apple and Samsung. These characteristics have been listed below and with the explanation of how Fairphone owners exhibited them to make only a mere idea into a fully developed business.
One of the most essential traits that an entrepreneur should be having, is passion. Passion is required at every stage of the business cycle; it is required from the moment a person gets the idea of starting a business and it should be kept high through all the stages of the business. In the case of Fairphone, it was only passion that the entrepreneurs brought the idea of starting a campaign regarding unethical practices in phone manufacturing into action and then further started manufacturing a "fair phone” in actual.
Only passion is not enough to start and run a business. It takes both passion and hard work to make a business successful, especially when the business is an entrepreneurial venture. An entrepreneur must work day and night to make his business stand out from all the other business ventures working in the same market (Kirzner, 2015, p. 134). The people working behind Fairphone also did the same; they worked very hard to bring the idea of fair practices in smartphone manufacturing into existence and then finally actually manufacturing the product.
An entrepreneur needs to think very rationally; not only he is required to take important decisions related to business, about the surroundings he or she is going to start his or her business in. An entrepreneur should keep in mind values, norms and preferences in which they are going to start their entrepreneurial venture and will it be ethical to star this sort of business in the current market. Fairphone adopted the same strategy. It based its business on the foundations of ethical thinking along with a rational thought process.
Care for Society
An entrepreneur, before starting a business, should keep the society and the market in which they are going to initiate their venture because it is the society that is going to make the business successful. If the business venture is against the overall values of the society, not only it will be rejected by the society, it will also present the entrepreneur as a mean a selfish businessperson who only cares about money (Shapero and Sokol, 1982, p. 79). The business minds behind Fairphone knew this fact very precisely, which is why they based their business idea on the values of the common good for the whole society.
Major Boundaries or Challenges in Social Entrepreneurship
Starting an entrepreneurial venture is not a piece of cake; it takes a lot of hard work and a great amount of motivation to start a business that has unique values and presents a different product to the society or presents an already existing product in a unique way (Dees, 2017, p. 37). Especially if the project is a Social Entrepreneurship venture, it can take an extra amount of blood and sweat. There are numerous challenges that an entrepreneur may face down the lane of a social entrepreneurial venture. Some of them have been listed below.
Collecting Investments or Raising Capital
Collecting investments or raising Capital is much more difficult in the case of social entrepreneurship as compared to any other entrepreneurial venture. The reason behind this high level of difficulty is the uncertainty in this type of business and the chances of generating less profit. The investors think that being social in nature, this type of business will garner no or very less profit, which is why they hesitate in investing their funds such type of business.
High level of Risk
A social entrepreneurship project involves much more amount of risk than it is present in any other normal business project as there is a great chance that the market will accept it or not. The social entrepreneurial project always stays at the high end of risk as it is centred around social and social values (Mair, and Marti, 2006, p. 39). A social entrepreneur should keep in mind that there is a great chance that society may not be impressed by the business idea at all and reject it altogether.
Resistance or Delay in bringing the Change
Before starting a social entrepreneurial venture, a person should keep it firmly in their mind that it is not easy to convince people for something new. People try and trust only those things in which they are experienced, a social entrepreneurship project might require an extra level of effort to convince and make people believe in the genuity of the project. It is extremely important during this process that the entrepreneur(s) remain motivated and do not lose hope. They should keep working hard and should not lose the spark in them that made them start this venture.
Exploitation by Big Sharks
One of the major challenges that can come in the way of a social entrepreneur is exploitation and snubbing by the bigger giants in the industry who are also competing in the same market (Martin and Osberg, 2007, p. 93). A social entrepreneurial project can emerge as a challenge for these business and they can take form strategies to make the newly formed entrepreneurial business not a successful one in the market or even try to defame the newly born business it in the market. So a social entrepreneur should keep a close look at the actions and strategies of its competitors fighting for the share in the same market.
In a nutshell, it can be seen that although Social Entrepreneurship is a concept that serves the society and works for the common good of the general public, it is also not free from challenges. People may take time to develop trust over this sort of business project, but once it becomes popular, the consumers support it to great extent and even start preferring its products over the products of other big companies present in the market. Such an example can be seen in the case of Fairphone.
Dees, J.G., 2017. 1 The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship. In Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (pp. 34-42). Routledge.
Drucker, P., 2014. Innovation and entrepreneurship. Routledge.
Kirzner, I.M., 2015. Competition and entrepreneurship. University of Chicago Press.
Mair, J. and Marti, I., 2006. Social entrepreneurship research: A source of explanation, prediction, and delight. Journal of world business, 41(1), pp.36-44.
Martin, R.L. and Osberg, S., 2007. Social entrepreneurship: The case for definition.
Shapero, A. and Sokol, L., 1982. The social dimensions of entrepreneurship. Encyclopedia of entrepreneurship, pp.72-90.
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