Aarti Sahgal

Her mission is to enable entrepreneurs with disabilities to build sustainable businesses.

When Aarti Sahgal—a mother of two, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome—first moved to the U.S., she and her husband were disappointed by the lack of inclusivity and support available to kids with disabilities. She claims the programs her family had access to tended to be discriminative because they curtailed access to the same education and career opportunities that other kids received.

“When my youngest son was born, we were told that we should get ready to have him institutionalized, but we made a promise to give him the same opportunities as our older son,” Sahgal says. That moment proved to be a pivotal point in her life, and she decided to quit her corporate job to work in the disability sector.

In 2016, Sahgal founded Synergies Work, a business incubator and accelerator for entrepreneurs with disabilities. She believes that all individuals have their own unique skills and talents and a thirst for success. Today, at 22 years old, her son continues to thrive despite having Down syndrome; he attends Georgia State University, runs two businesses, and is an ambassador for Georgia Advocacy Office’s (GAO) Supported Decision-Making Project.

Sahgal says she is most passionate about leveling the field for people with disabilities so they can live up to their true potential. “I feel it is important to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations,” she says. “The moment you raise the bar, you see the broad capacity and not the limitations.”

Synergies Work is the largest organization in the country to serve innovative entrepreneurs with disabilities at every stage of their journey. Since its inception, Synergies Work has helped more than 200 entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are women and people of color. It is committed to supporting 1 million new entrepreneurs with disabilities by 2027 through partnerships with disability organizations and businesses that believe in building an equitable ecosystem.