Tackling the solid waste management problem in Kathmandu with Samsara Creation

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Read the conversation between Blincventures.com Team and Kushal Achhami , Co-founder of Samsara Creation where he shares about his start-up and experience of attending UYC boot-camp.

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1. Could you tell our audience a bit about yourself and how you started your company Samsara Creation?

My name is Kushal Achhami and I am one of the co-founders of Samsara Creation. Prior to starting this company I used to work for an INGO Raleigh International, and we used to work in places like Makwanpur and Gorkha. I am also a student of Development studies at Kathmandu University School of Arts, Samsara Creation actually started as a class project in a Masters course of Entrepreneurship where we had to present our business idea to professors for credits. It took us a few months to meet like- minded people who were passionate about recycling. Finally, we found six members who are now our core team members. Since then, it has been eight to nine months that we have been working on our business idea and we are contributing to the environment through management of solid waste.

2. What is Samsara Creation and what social problem are you trying to solve?
Samsara Creation is trying to solve the problem of solid waste management in Kathmandu. After conducting thorough research we discovered two major problems. Firstly, we identified that there is a massive generation of waste in Kathmandu as well as in other cities of Nepal. If we look at the stats, 24 tons of waste is generated in Kathmandu everyday and 90% of waste ends up in landfill. 

Secondly, it’s very expensive to maintain landfills sites. Also, gases released from solid waste have a huge impact on the environment.
Moreover, looking for solutions we found out about upcycled products which will give customers choice of up-cycled products and also address problems of consumerism. Furthermore, there are few options of up-cycled products in Nepal.
However, the market for upcycled products is very small. We interviewed fifty customers and found out that customers had concerns of : quality, price, accessibility. From this we created a value proposition of providing : high quality products with a variety of choices that will be easily accessible. So far we have identified 4 products and we are researching to create a range of products that provides consumers with higher utility. 

3. A good team must have people from diverse backgrounds, could you tell us about your team at Samsara Creation?
Starting with myself, I hold an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. I had also worked as an intern at e-commerce platform Sasto Deal, hence with this experience I am able to look at the business development side of our company.
Bijay has an Environmental Engineering background, so he takes lead in R & D and focuses on Solid Waste Management. Ajit focuses on Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing. Tanoshi is very passionate about upcycled products. She was one of our early collaborators and works in product design and product functionality, as well networks with designers.Varsha leads the Customer Relationship Department. Finally we have Chadani who works on offline marketing and she works closely with Bijay. 

4. How was your experience of attending Udhyami Yuwa Challenge (UYC)?
One of the best thing about attending Udhyami Yuwa Challenge was that it allowed all six of our team members to attend the training sessions. Secondly from boot-camp we were able to reinforce that we were going on a right track. So, this made us very confident of our business. Thirdly, it showed us the bigger picture and vision we should strive for. So it was a great experience! 

5. Has your idea involved in any way post-attending UYC boot-camp?
Yes, the core-idea remains the same. However, many elements have been added to the idea post attending the session. For starters, each core member has clarity about what each one of us will be contributing to Samsara Creation.
Secondly, we learnt about the importance of networking as we developed insight on HR, Investing, being sustainable and  we understood it is very necessary to have collaboration.

6. Was there any particular session that you liked?
Each of us team members divided the session based on our area of interest and expertise. Collectively, we particularly enjoyed Mr. Tenzin’s session on investment. He was very particular and addressed all of our queries.
Furthermore, Ajit really enjoyed the session on digital marketing which he thought was very insightful. 

7. Do you have any recommendations to improve our sessions?
As all participants had products or services to offer in the market I would have recommended a session on product pricing. Another important addition would have been a session on market research.

8. What do you think are the odds for you to win the seed money? If you do, what will you do with it?
We have not actually focused on getting the seed money. We were more focused on networking, learning from sessions and exploring collaboration with Blincventures.com and it’s rich network.
Saying this, it would be good to win the money too. If we do, we will be strictly investing it in the organisation. We know what we are going to do post-pandemic, and the prize money will add value to our future activities. 

9. What were your expectations from Boot-Camp , were those expectations met?
The expectation was to have beautiful conversations related to start-up and to engage with other participants on how everyone had inception of their start-up idea.
However, due to the pandemic I had very low expectations because it’s difficult to concentrate for long hours with poor internet connectivity. However, we got a lot out of session and it was a great experience for us. 

10. To wrap up could you share your top three learnings from the boot-camp?
First  of all, investment opportunities in Nepal are quite low compared to other countries and we have to accept this fact and this has given me perspective on: when to, how to, from whom to look for investment.
Lastly, despite the challenges of lock-down Blincventures.com was able to pull off this extensive program and this has taught me that  it is possible to pursue what you can regardless of challenges you may face.

You can find out more about Samsara Creation in their LinkedIn Profile. For more information about this idea, please connect with Kushal in his linkedin here.

Interviewed and article by Shambhavi Singh.