Why this ex-athlete and dancer started a sports management company for female athletes

in August 2021, Megha H. Desai and Deepika Das Peirera recognized that representation and investment in women athletes in India was not strong enough compared to other countries.

They started in Mumbai CLOSELY the same year to support Indian female athletes and give them the support needed to make a global impact.

“While sport has always been a rich part of India, it is only in recent years that a wide range of sports and a focus on women athletes has emerged. However, we still have a long way to go. Indian women athletes have finally started to shine but are still severely underrepresented,” said Megha H. Desai, COO, ENGN.

The platform aims to invest their efforts in Indian female athletes and give them the platform they deserve. It also aims to encourage young girls across India to pursue sport as a career.

what does it do

A few years ago, ENGN’s founding members met to engage with one of the leading women golfers for a brand advancement association, which led to deeper conversations about women in sport that became the cornerstone of ENGN.

“We offer holistic support – from financial support to investing in coaching, nutrition, mental health and any other area where the athlete needs support. Additionally, we have a line of performance apparel that focuses on women, and we invest a portion of the proceeds into athletes’ progress,” says Megha.

Currently 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 distance) and Shivani Soam (Delhi state record holder, long jump).

The team

ENGN has a team of 14 members in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune. Deepika is Head of Talent and Sports at ENGN. A former athlete, 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 consulting for emerging companies in the sports sector.

She has worked with various athletes including Saina Nehwal, Sunil Chhetri, Rahul Dravid, Sharmila Nicollet and teams like 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 business strategy, execution and expansion of the brand. She has over 20 years of business strategy experience, including starting new businesses, managing income statements, developing new markets, creating intellectual property, branding content and sponsorships.

A former Director of New Business at Chernin Asia Media Digital (part of Peter Chernin Group), she was responsible for the company’s revenue growth for talent including Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma, among others.

Megha is also an internationally certified yoga teacher and dancer.

Performance wear and the future

Besides sports management, ENGN also offers quality performance wear at affordable prices – between Rs 599 and Rs 899 – and part of the revenue from this industry goes back into the company.

Megha states: “We want to invest our efforts solely in giving Indian female athletes the platform they deserve and encouraging girls across the country to pursue sport as a career. Along the way, our vision is to encourage all women to make health and fitness a part of their lives, and as such our line of quality performance apparel at affordable prices is also dedicated exclusively to women.”

Sport as an industry has yet to fully develop in India. According to a joint report by KPMG and CII, the value of the global sports industry is estimated at around US$620 billion, however, in India, sport has yet to be recognized as a sector and there is no comprehensive study on the estimated size of the industry.

Various small players such as Baseline Ventures, Cornerstone and Athletes Today are also struggling to bring more structure to sports management in India.

However, ENGN wants to focus primarily on female 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 underlines.