Dilemma’s, panic attacks and the best time of my life.

30 minutes presentation
Bas van Abel Fairphone

“You guys are crazy! There is no market for fair electronics, the industry is hyper-competitive and it is super difficult to make smartphones”. That was the first feedback the Fairphone team got when they decided to produce a smartphone as fair as possible, starting in the mines in Congo. Now, 7 years later, Fairphone crowdfunded over 15 million euro’s, has sold over 150k phones and won numerous awards. But what does it take to challenge the system by starting a social enterprise in one of the most complex industries? And how did I overcome my own failures and turned them into valuable lessons learned?”

Bas van Abel

Bas van Abel


Bas is the founder, former CEO and currently board member of Fairphone, a social enterprise which creates a phone to uncover complex production systems and change how products are made. Fairphone has been widely recognised with awards such as the UN Momentum for Change Award 2015, the European Business Award for the Environment 2016, and is a certified B Corp.

Next to his work at Fairphone he’s the co-fouder of a social enterprise, De Clique (, which is a logistical service, physical hub and marketing platform that will help transform wasted resources from my hometown #Utrecht into new products again.

Prior to Fairphone, Bas worked as creative director at Waag Society, where he has established Amsterdam’s FabLab, a community maker space, and initiated the Instructables Restaurant, the world’s first open source restaurant. Open design is the driving force behind many of his initiatives, combined with his passion for building new relationships between people and products.