Why this ex-sportswoman and dancer started a sports management company for women athletes
In August 2021, Megha H Desai and Deepika Das Peirera realised the representation and investment in women sportspersons in India were not strong enough compared to other countries.
They started Mumbai-basedthe same year to support Indian women athletes and give them the required support to make a global impact.
“While sports have always been a rich part of India, it’s only in recent years that a spectrum of sports and focus on female sportspersons has emerged. We still, however, have a long journey to traverse. Indian female athletes have finally started shining, yet they are still grossly under-represented,” says Megha H Desai, COO, ENGN.
The platform aims to invest its effort in Indian sportswomen and give them the platform they deserve. It also wants to encourage young girls across India to take sports as a career.
What does it do?
A few years ago, ENGN’s founding members met to engage with one of the leading female golfers for a brand endorsement association, leading to deeper conversations about women in sports, which became the founding stone for ENGN.
“We provide holistic support—from financial backing to investment in the athlete’s coaching, nutrition, mental health, and any other area where they need support. Further, we have a product line of performance wear focused on women, and we plough back a part of the revenue into the athlete’s progress,” says Megha.
At present, ENGN exclusively represents Maana Patel (Olympic Swimmer), Veda Krishnamurthy (Ex-Vice Captain, Team India, and Karnataka Team captain), Anisha Aswal (All India Rank 1, World Rank 65, Taekwondo), Anoli Shah (International medalist, Speed Skating), Nithyashree Ananda (International Athlete, 400M Track), and Shivani Soam (Delhi State Record Holder, Long Jump).
ENGN has a team of 14 members across Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune. Deepika is the Head of Talent and Sports at ENGN. An ex-sportswoman, She has over a decade of experience in the sports marketing and management industry, with extensive experience in athlete representation, corporate consulting, business development, licensing, sponsorship sales, IP creation, and advisory to emerging companies in the sports sector.
She has worked with various sportspersons, including Saina Nehwal, Sunil Chhetri, Rahul Dravid, Sharmila Nicollet, and teams such as Royal Challengers Bangalore, Bengaluru FC, ATK Mohun Bagan FC, and Kolkata Knight Riders, to name a few.
Megha, Co-founder and COO of ENGN, oversees the brand’s business strategy, execution, and expansion. She has over 20 years of experience in the business strategy space, including setting up new businesses, managing P & L, new market development, IP creation, brand content, and sponsorships.
As the former Director of New Business at Chernin Asia Media Digital (part of the Peter Chernin Group), she was responsible for the company’s revenue growth for talents, including Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, and Anushka Sharma, among others.
Megha is also an internationally certified Yoga teacher and a dancer.
Performance wear and future
Besides sports management, ENGN also offers quality performance wear at affordable prices—between Rs 599 and Rs 899—and a part of the revenue from this vertical is cycled back into the company.
Megha explains “We aim to solely invest our effort in giving Indian sportswomen the platform they deserve and encourage girls across the country to take up sports as a career. In this journey, our vision is to encourage all women to make health and fitness a part of their life, and hence, our product line of high-quality performance wear at affordable prices is also solely for women.”
Sports as an industry is yet to evolve fully in India. According to a joint report by KPMG and CII, while the global sports industry is estimated to be worth around $620 billion, in India, sports is yet to be recognised as a sector, and there is no comprehensive study on the industry’s estimated size.
Various small players like Baseline Ventures, Cornerstone, and Athletes Today are also fighting it out to make sports management more structured in India.
However, ENGN wants to focus mainly on women athletes.
“Our mantra is simple – we take care of everything for our athletes so they can focus on what they do best – Making India Proud,” she signs off.
Edited by Suman Singh