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Inside the business of “waste”; Meghalaya’s startup ecosystem

In India, waste is more than a problem—it’s a billion-dollar opportunity. But behind the scenes, startups face a different challenge.

Inside the business of “waste”; Meghalaya’s startup ecosystem

Monday February 19, 2024 , 4 min Read


Zepto has a new loyalty programme.

Called the Zepto Pass, this will enable members to get unlimited free deliveries for orders above Rs 99 with additional discounts on larger orders. 

Also, amid the Paytm row, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the RBI’s action has drawn the attention of fintech firms to the importance of complying with laws. He stressed that regulatory compliance cannot be "optional" for companies; it is an aspect every entrepreneur must pay full attention to.

Elsewhere, FPIs adopted a cautious approach offloading Indian equities worth close to Rs 3,776 crore so far this month owing to a spike in the US bond yields and uncertainty over the interest rate environment on the domestic and the global front. 

ICYMI: NASA wants volunteers for Mars simulation project. 

If you have a background in STEM and are a braveheart, this is your chance to experience that space life, albeit “remotely”... 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Cashing in on the ‘trash’ opportunity
  • Inside Meghalaya’s startup ecosystem

Here’s your trivia for today: What is the capital city of Mongolia?


Cashing in on the ‘trash’ opportunity

Waste management

In India, waste is more than a problem—it’s a billion-dollar opportunity. But behind the scenes, startups face a different challenge.

The country currently generates around 62 million tonnes of waste overall, of which only 30% of the recyclable waste is recycled, a Mordor Intelligence report says, and a majority of it is done by unorganised factions that almost operate as monopolies with little tolerance for intrusion from others.


  • Despite being a major contributor to India’s pollution woes, the waste management sector raised merely $12 million in 2023 across four deals, as per YourStory data. The climate tech sector, overall, raised $1.2 billion.
  • At the bottom of the hierarchy are scrap dealers who employ waste pickers. There’s usually an understanding between the scrap dealers and the private contractors to protect each other’s interests so they can monopolise business in the area.
  • A handful of startups YourStory spoke to did report receiving support from local civic bodies and administrative officers, especially, if they could demonstrate strong tech-led solutions.


Inside Meghalaya’s startup ecosystem

CM Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma launched the CM-ELEVATE programme last year with a focus on empowering, engaging, and employing the youth of Meghalaya through the promotion of entrepreneurship, and received more than 29,000 applications within two months. 

In an exclusive conversation with YourStory, the Minister speaks about the state’s multi-pronged approach to encouraging entrepreneurship and the role of women and self-help groups in the ecosystem.

Field day:

  • The launch of PRIME—Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises—in 2019 has given a huge fillip to entrepreneurship in the state. Through its four cohorts, PRIME has incubated 240 entrepreneurs.
  • When it comes to small entrepreneurs and self-help groups, we are seeing a lot of responses from rural women, the CM says. 
  • If you go towards Jaintia Hills, you must visit Laskein Block, where we have 15 women’s SHGs who have been funded for solar-powered turmeric processing units, and they are doing exceptionally well, he adds.

News & updates

  • Fines: The European Union is set to fine Apple about 500 million euros ($539 million) over alleged breaches of EU competition law, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. The fine is expected to be announced early next month.
  • Slumps: Foreign businesses’ direct investment into China last year increased by the lowest amount since the early 1990s as Beijing seeks more overseas investment to help its economy. China’s direct investment liabilities in its balance of payments rose by $33 billion last year, 82% down on 2022. 
  • Win: India set England a huge target and then skittled the tourists out for 122 to romp to a 434-run victory in the third test and go 2-1 up in the five-match series on Sunday. 

What you should watch out for

  • Wall Street: Wednesday's (February 21) earnings report from chipmaker Nvidia could prove a gut check for one of the market’s hottest names and for the AI fever that has helped power gains for US stocks in recent months.
  • IPOs: In the mainboard segment, Juniper Hotels IPO opens for subscription on February 21, and GPT Healthcare IPO on February 22, 2024. In the SME segment, Zenith Drugs IPO will open for bidding on February 19, among others. 
  • Next in the award season is the Bafta Awards on February 19. 

What is the capital city of Mongolia?

Answer: Ulaanbaatar.

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