Angad Sahgal is an Atlanta-based entrepreneur and the founder of two businesses. He is the founder of Let Me Do It Application that enables persons with disabilities to make informed decisions and live independently.
He is Georgia’s state ambassador for Supported Decision Making and is a student of the GSU IDEAL program. Let Me Do It was recently accepted into the Georgia State University Main Street Entrepreneur Seed Fund.
He is also the founder of Chai Ho Tea- organic and sustainably grown teas. His love for food, drink and travel led him to founding Chai Ho Teas which provides ethically sourced, organic, gourmet teas from his home country of India. Angad has Down syndrome, is a black belt in karate, an avid soccer fan and loves a good challenge.
Connect with Angad on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- What is supported Decision making and why is it important for persons with disabilities
- Empowering Persons with disabilities
- Leveraging technology and support networks to create a world where Persons with disabilities belong and thrive
- Entrepreneurship and Persons with disabilities
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by on pay. Atlanta’s New standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:25] Lee Kantor here another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is one of my favorite series that we do. It’s the GSU radio show where we spotlight the great goings on at GSU and especially the Main Street Entrepreneurship Seed Fund participants. And today we have folks from that initiative. We have Angad and Amit Sahgal with Let Me Do It. Welcome.
Angad Sahgal: [00:00:52] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:53] So excited to learn what you’re doing over there and let me do it. So if you don’t mind, share a little bit about the mission purpose of Let me do it.
Angad Sahgal: [00:01:01] So I’m going to let Angad start with the purpose and then get into the business side of it.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:05] Okay.
Angad Sahgal: [00:01:06] My purpose is to empower people with disability. Informed decision had to own voice. So essentially helping people with disabilities to own their decision rights. Often times what happens is the decision rights of persons with disabilities are taken away through power of attorney. Et cetera. And Angad, being one of the Georgia youth ambassadors for supported decision making, thought that would be best served. That if we create a enabling platform which will allow for persons with disabilities to own their decision rights with the support of a network of their caregivers, support family to decide what’s what they want to do, what’s good for them, and what makes sense for them.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:53] Now, before we get too far into things, do you mind kind of defining some of these terms? Like what does supported decision making mean for the layperson?
Amit Sahgal: [00:02:02] So essentially it’s to simplify it. It’s like if you were to take a decision, if or if Angad is going to take a decision about something or my wife or his support network, help him with that decision process. That is what supported decision making is. So Angad’s decision rights are with him. He decides I’m going to do this, but leverages his support network to get to that decision. Does that make sense?
Lee Kantor: [00:02:29] Yeah. So ultimately, the decision is with Angad.
Angad Sahgal: [00:02:33] Yes. Or we can help with him as he decides something. Okay. When God decided, you know, he wanted to join a post-secondary education program, so my wife and I worked with Unga to decide what’s good for him, what he would like, what he wanted in a program, and then figure out which is the best program which will work. And Unga took the final decision that he wanted to attend the ideal program.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:01] So now how is it set up right now without Let me do It around to help facilitate this, How are people kind of handling this situation? Are the support team just kind of making decisions for the people they’re caring for right now, or is that individual in charge of their decisions? Like what are the what are the rules of the game right now?
Angad Sahgal: [00:03:23] It’s very open ended. It would depend from a person and their network. There is no process which allows you to do it or in a structured format. So, you know, our family may be different than somebody else who’s going, you know, who needs help in the decision process. And there isn’t you know, we haven’t really leveraged the power of technology to do anything in this space. So what we’re trying to do is, you know, we have a fair understanding of the world of disabilities, having our lived experiences. And through my through mom and my wife’s work, she runs a organization called Synergies Work, which works with folks with disabilities to become entrepreneurs. So we have a fair understanding. So what we’ve tried to do is, through lived experiences, our experiences try to create a solution which would benefit, you know, persons with disabilities, the community which we’re trying to serve.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:29] So how is technology being leveraged to help? So.
Angad Sahgal: [00:04:35] If you really look at the the app, it’s essentially it’s a it’s a structured decision tree or a task management format, which, you know, when when a person downloads the app and they create the decisions in consultation with their support network, hey, I’m going to mornings when I get up, I need to go to work or I need to go to college. I’m going to live independently. And then those decisions have sub elements or tasks built in, and then you define those and you also create your network, you know, in case if he has to go somewhere, he needs to call an Uber. So the person to help him is Dad. If he wants to go to a doctor, the person to help him, his mom. So you create those networks. So and accordingly, then once you get to that decision point through notifications, the app keeps telling you where you are in the decision process and what you have to do next. So it sort of brings it in front of you. All of us, whether you have a disability or not, tend to forget things. This just simplifies it and brings it to you and notifies you. It’s similar concept. When you get something on your phone, you get a notification. So you’re getting a notification. You have to go to college. To go to college, you need to call an Uber. So he gets a notification. He reaches out to me, Dad, can you call me an Uber? And I call him an Uber. And that’s how this, you know, the cycle of events would work. And he will achieve his desired decision to get to college, leveraging people within his network.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:08] So so building that appropriate support team and network is a critical element for success.
Angad Sahgal: [00:06:16] It would be. And, you know, from what I know of the the disability community, everybody has a network. But today what you have is your network is basically 24/7, has to be with you. What we trying to do is you can reach your network on demand when you need them.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:37] And so when so an individual signs up for the app, they then, I guess, plug in their needs and the network that’s associated with each of those kind of components and subcomponents.
Angad Sahgal: [00:06:50] Yeah. So you download the app and in our case, so when we started rolling out the app, so I downloaded the app with so did his mom, his brother and two people from his support network. So all of us help with certain parts of the decision or his everyday life and decisions which manifest into everyday life or longer term, you know, longer term impact decisions. And accordingly, based on that, you know, we created the network of which person can help him with what part of those decisions. And so that’s the person to call for. And then you the app also color codes, the need is it something which is immediate and urgent, something which is done going to be done in a few hours. So sort of a red, yellow, red, yellow, red, amber, kind of a color code which defines the urgency of the task and the need for help.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:49] Now, does it kind of evolve along the lines to include like doctors or professors In this case, if it’s college and folks that are also interacting with the person with disabilities?
Angad Sahgal: [00:08:06] You’re exactly right. The step one, what we’re trying to do is include your, you know, your doctors because they are a part of your care giver network. We are going to include them. But obviously, we need to get some we need to be HIPAA compliant, etcetera. But that’s on the plan. And we are going to involve your if you’re in high school, if you’re in college, your professors so that they have, you know, you’re going to need help from them if you need help from them. There is an easy way to reach them. We’re also going to be working with we are approaching organizations such as Vocational Rehab to allow for folks with disabilities, because in the current environment, they get a job coach for a defined period of time. Now, all of us can tend to forget things. So what that will do is essentially one, increase the breadth of how far a job coach can go instead of just working with one person at a time. You could work with ten people at a time because you have the ability to do so using technology. And as a person with a disability, what that does is you have the job in the job details on your phone so you don’t have to technically be have the physical presence of a job coach. But if you need the job coach or anybody else in your support network, like the person, your boss, you can reach out to them and they can help you work through that.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:28] Now, speaking of coaching, does it offer kind of and maybe I is helpful in this area, some help if you need help, you know, sometimes you need help, sometimes you need a helper. Does the app provide for like encouragement or a tip or here, have you tried this? You know, some problem solving assistance rather than going immediately to a human being?
Angad Sahgal: [00:09:56] Uh, so it’s going to be it’s on the, on the roadmap right now, the way the app is, it it does not have it. But in the next 12 to 18 months, the plan is to include that kind of thing. And we’re also going to create a community pool so that everybody, all the folks who run the app, they can provide their input on whether it’s, you know, a doctor or a college or a class, which somebody should attend so that there is information sharing. And in today’s world of disabilities, there’s a lot of reinvention of the wheel that will eliminate that.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:31] Because like in the case of, like you were saying, people going to college, it might be one professor’s a better choice for this kind of a community rather than another one. And if the community was aware of that, it could save them some time and grief.
Angad Sahgal: [00:10:48] That is why the community resource pool comes into very handy. So if there are some so part of the the GSU Idol program, if the all the people who are there, if they start giving their feedback, you know, I had a great time with this professor in the in the pottery class or in the fine arts classes then that’s a resource somebody else can leverage today. It’s, you know, experience and find out rather than some information being there which says, yes, this is already tried, tested and proven. So try it now.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:19] So now where are you at in the development of this app? Is it is it kind of based on your family situation or are there other people in the wild kind of using it and being your beta testers?
Angad Sahgal: [00:11:32] Yeah. So we started with the inputs from 4 or 5 folks, and now we have 45 pilot users. And like you said, the purpose of the beta users is to tell us what’s good, what’s bad, what’s needed, what’s missing, what’s working.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:49] So when did you get a sense of, hey, this is something here, we have something here that’s needed and provides a lot of utility for the community. Was it right away, like for your like, I know you were solving your own problem, but when did you start getting kind of that market tell you that, hey, this is something that we really should lean into?
Angad Sahgal: [00:12:09] So the, the the idea for the app came is part of Angad’s role as a Georgia youth ambassador. And all the young adults had to pick a project. So Angad decided to build an app given his love for his phone and his iPad and all the games he’s been playing on the Ps5. So that was the idea, which sort of led us to create a document or a thought process or a position paper which Angad presented at the conference. It’s called it’s run by an organization called Tash U. The Association of the Severely Handicapped in November December in Phenix last year. And the traction and the response we got there from either the the parents who were there or the the disability advocacy and support organizations told us this is something which we need to, you know, really double down and build. And that’s what started that’s where we started building the platform and sourcing feedback, talking to educational institutions, research institutions and families of persons with disabilities. That’s what’s the trigger. And that’s that got us all started and we started building because just not us. We, we, we knew that there is a definitive market need for this sort of a product.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:29] So how did the Main Street Entrepreneurship Seed Fund get on your radar?
Angad Sahgal: [00:13:34] Well, Angad’s, a student at GSU, he’s a part of the ideal program. And when we saw the main Street fund, you know, looking for entrepreneurs for cohort four, we could not think of a better way to, you know, one showcase that entrepreneurs, you know, you can be entrepreneurs and it’s not governed by the label if you’re able or disabled. So that’s what got us started. And it also helped us get bring the awareness has been Main Street Fund’s been phenomenal in bringing the awareness or creating the awareness of not just the app but also disability entrepreneurship. So the reason we started was the student here. What better place than to reach out and start building the app then, you know, then with Main Street Fund.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:29] Now how how what has been the interaction with the folks at Main Street and on God and yourself? Has it been mostly you or is this something that Angad is actively involved with working with them and the mentors?
Angad Sahgal: [00:14:45] Angad is being a part of every meeting call conference workshop we’ve had thus far, whether it’s our mentor meetings, you know, three times a month or four times a month or workshops every week, angad’s a part of that plus angad’s a part of our conversation twice a month with the folks who are building the platform for us. So he’s involved in every part of it and more from not the nitty gritty of the business, but why and the how of what is going to be done and angad’s the principal user of the app. So, you know, as we are building the app, one of the things we try at home is trying to see how it works because there is no better experience than first us experiencing it. If we can’t do it, then why are we going to tell other people to use it?
Lee Kantor: [00:15:36] And it’s aligned philosophically with this supported decision making, right? Pardon me? And having him actively involved is aligned philosophically with the supported decision making?
Angad Sahgal: [00:15:48] Yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:51] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Angad Sahgal: [00:15:55] We need to. So the biggest thing we need is that it’s a two part thing. One, there are roughly 2 million people with a disability in the state of Georgia. Okay. We need to get the message out that there is something which can help you with your everyday to long term life, you know, decision making process. And you need there is something which will allow you to own your decision rights. Obviously there are some people who will not be may not believe in that. So that’s that’s one part of it. Getting the message out there is something which can help you. And secondly, the second part, which I think is more critical, is what we want to highlight and surface is to be an entrepreneur. You don’t you know, it doesn’t go by a label if you’re able or disabled. Entrepreneurship leverages your skill, talent and desire to make a change. And that’s those are the two things we want to really highlight.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:52] And that’s more of a mindset, right?
Angad Sahgal: [00:16:55] Mindset. You’re absolutely right.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:58] It’s believing you can make a change and taking action.
Angad Sahgal: [00:17:02] I think what we and what I’ve been saying and we’ve always said as a family, what you need to look for is what is the person, what is what a person has, rather than look at, oh, this person does not have this. So look at the positives rather than saying this is something which is lacking.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:20] Right, because people have more than sometimes they remember. Yes. So if somebody wants to connect with you on God or somebody on the team, what’s a website?
Angad Sahgal: [00:17:31] Let me do it.org.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:33] Let me do it.org and they can maybe sign up to be a beta tester. They can play around with it. They can see what it can be and get involved.
Angad Sahgal: [00:17:43] They can sign up to be a beta tester of what we are doing right now is instead of, you know, I’m meeting with each one of the folks who wants to come in as a beta tester. I want to make sure what is their expectation and the need so that we are properly addressing it. And so that’s the process I’ve adopted so far. The beta or version release, which is going to happen in November, that’s the time you open it to the general public. Right now we are, you know, we’re adding beta users, beta testers, which is at current, we’re adding about one a day. And you know, I want to get a large group of folks who can provide us the feedback to action.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:24] Now what about organizations that serve the disabled? Are you involving them as well?
Angad Sahgal: [00:18:29] So two of three of our design partners and sponsors, Georgia Advocacy Office, Sangha Unity Network Synergies Work. These are organizations which are disability support and advocacy. We are also talking to organizations in Iowa, Illinois and Massachusetts to disability support and advocacy organizations.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:54] Well Angad Amit, congratulations on all the success so far in the momentum. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you both.
Angad Sahgal: [00:19:02] Thank you so much.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:04] This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on g-s-u E.n.i. Radio.
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