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NEW DELHI : Falguni Nayar, the billionaire founder of online beauty products retailer Nykaa, on Friday said that as businesses increasingly demand a wide range of expertise, women need to widen their scope of education and learning and pick up skills across functions such as marketing, technology, operations and supply chain.

Speaking virtually at industry body Ficci’s annual convention and 94th AGM, Nayar, who founded Nykaa at 50, spoke at length about the lessons she learnt while building the company, which now has 15 million registered users and services 1.5 million monthly orders. Nykaa was listed on the stock exchanges recently.

A graduate of IIM Ahmedabad, Nayar worked with management consulting firm AF Ferguson and Co. before joining Kotak Mahindra Capital. Inspired by her businessman father, she set herself a deadline of starting a business by the age of 50. She launched Nykaa in 2012. With no prior experience in retail, technology, beauty or fashion but a strong finance background, she built Nykaa into the go-to beauty products website.

However, Nayar said starting out as an entrepreneur required immense learning, unlearning and relearning.

“I built a company that appeals to the millennials. A lot of my workforce was millennial. And I really had to sometimes think of things very differently, to appeal to my customers, as well as my employees and be totally open to a new way of working compared to what I was used to," she said at the session in conversation with Naina Lal Kidwai, former president, Ficci and chairperson, Advent India advisory board.

Nayar said women must dip into their networks and deepen their skills beyond their core strengths, recalling her own early days.

“Many women do not build networks. In terms of soft skills, women must build the right networks and relationships that are required to succeed and get the information they need to make their business succeed. At the same time, an entrepreneur must understand how to negotiate deals, how to brand their businesses and themselves and how to pitch to investors and their ability to take the right risks," she said.

Moreover, women must pursue a very “wide" spectrum of education, she said, batting for equality among male and female workers.

“And I don’t mean formally in colleges, but you know, on the job, they should be open to learning not just their strengths; if they are strong in finance, they should be open to learning marketing, technology, operations and supply chain, because today’s successful businesses need all of that and more. And the other thing is you have to stay committed to yourself and also believe in yourself," she said.

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