Strategizing for Success: Scale Up! with Entrepreneurs’ Organization UAE


Over the past two decades, the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has experienced a remarkable evolution, especially in Dubai, its most populous city. Dubai’s pro-entrepreneurship stance, coupled with strategic location, digital advancements, and government initiatives, has transformed Dubai into a vibrant hub for startups.

Dubai continues to lead the growth in the MENA startup ecosystem, seeing a year-on-year growth of 26% in the number of scale-ups. Over the past five years, Dubai startups have witnessed a significant boom across all sectors. Today, Dubai is ranked the world’s fastest-growing venture capital ecosystem.

Capitalizing on the region’s success, Entrepreneurs’ Organization UAE wanted to help startups in its network tap into some of that funding. One of the major hurdles startups face across the globe is understanding the fundraising journey – and that understanding is key to securing funding. 

So how can EO UAE help startups get more investor-ready? 

About Entrepreneurs’ Organization UAE Chapter

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 18,000+ influential business owners with 220 chapters in 75+ countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond.

Scaling Up on Fundraising Strategy

As Learning Co-Chairs of the EO UAE Chapter for the financial year 22/23, Marie-Christine Luijckx and her co-chair Peter Davos were tasked with the training program for the community at EO UAE.

“One thing that kept coming up in my conversations with entrepreneurs was fundraising. ‘Should I?, shouldn’t I? I’m not raising fast enough. Am I doing it wrong? Where do I go?’ There are always questions about fundraising,” said Marie-Christine in an interview.

She was referred to the Scale Up! Strategy Simulation by an acquaintance who had earlier experienced it in an accelerator program in Norway and was in discussions with her co-chair to bring it to Dubai.

“It became really clear that it was a great and interactive way to get people thinking about the fundraising journey, about some of the give and take, the opportunity costs of receiving funding, the kinds of investors they should be taking on, and so on.”

The Strategy Tools team was then invited to run a Scale Up! Masterclass by the global EO UAE chapter. 

“The training was one of their favorite learning events, as it was experiential and made them rethink their fundraising journey.”

Marie-Christine Luijckx

Founder & Managing Partner at Fruitful Day | President Elect at Entrpereneurs’ Organization UAE Chapter, Ex-Co-Learning Chair

Can you experience the full scale-up journey in a day?


The one-day masterclass was facilitated by Scott Newton, Nir Melamud, and Christian Rangen from Strategy Tools – all three growth experts with decades of experience scaling and exiting companies.

Over nine intense hours, 50+ executives competed to take their startups from idea to exit and create billions of value along the way. How did they do?

“Scale Up! is not a walk-in-the-park type of session. It requires full attention, navigating unfamiliar territory, making quick and sharp decisions all the time, despite the high degree of uncertainty, and pushing forward for a long period of time. How long? 9 full hours.” explained Nir Melamud, one of the Strategy Tools facilitators at the workshop.

“We started with startup strategy and delved into key principles, including the identification of a unique value proposition, understanding target markets, and sustainable business models. By emphasizing these fundamentals, participants were equipped with the necessary tools to craft effective strategies for their own ventures,” he added.

Participants, through the Scale Up! simulation, walked through a wide range of topics that are key to their entrepreneurial success: finding the right investors, cap table math & dilution, dealing with advisors and board members, drawing up their long-term funding roadmap, exit paths and outcome scenarios, and much more.

“By empowering entrepreneurs in this aspect, we aimed to enhance their ability to attract investments and secure long-term success,” explained Nir.

“It was engaging, insightful, and impactful. Experiencing Scale Up! gave me another perspective on the fundraising process, the various dynamics and how things can play out over time. Anyone building a startup who might need external funding would definitely want to invest the time to go through this experience.”

Mazen Omair

Co-Founder & CEO at EduPloyment


The event was met with great enthusiasm and positive feedback from the members at EO UAE, with an average score of 9.7/10 liking the content shared.

“The key differentiator in the Scale Up! Masterclass was the combination of real-world experience, gamification, and hands-on learning,” said Marie-Christine. She emphasized that the event marked a significant success for EO UAE, with all participants actively engaged and gaining key insights throughout the day.

Due to the successful of the event in June 2023, EO UAE is in talks with Strategy Tools to bring the masterclass back to its members.

“The Scale Up! Masterclass was a great model for learning – I wish school curricula would adopt this! You get hyper learning from the simulation, combined with the team and introspection. All entrepreneurs should do this!”

Usama Jacir

Founder and CEO of Pulse IoT Technologies

Facilitator Reflections by Scott Newton


Let me start by saying “WoW!”

The energy of having 3 tables full of expert participants together with three facilitators all in one hotel ballroom made for such an amazing environment.

As with most Scaleups, the 15 teams started with tons of energy, a lot of confusion, and not too much traction. Getting Revenue is HARD!

What was so interesting to note was the varying roles and expertise, from top global experienced M&A lawyers to incredible Family Office leaders. All together competing towards the goal of building the best Scaleups in the world AND successfully exiting.

Where you saw the greatest learning take place is when people really began understanding the dynamics of Venture, their roles in value creation, and what it takes for an exit to break the record books.

Why I would love to work with this group again is their combination of thoughtful risk-taking, strategic outcomes, and decision-making, and most of all the entrepreneurial spirit combined with an eye for opportunities and building the best teams in the world.

Facilitator Reflections by Nir Melamud

Each one of the 100’s of Scale-Up! simulations we ran globally in the latest years were unique and different, but the EO – Dubai Chapter’s Scale-Up! Masterclass had its own level of uniqueness.

Why? It is always about the people.

The diverse audience consisted of entrepreneurs from various industries countries and backgrounds, accelerator managers, mentors & coaches, and ecosystem developers – ensuring a rich exchange of ideas and a unique competitive spirit.

This heterogeneity provided an excellent platform for dynamic discussions and interactive learning experiences. And it was just great to see the participants’ steep learning curve, in startup financing, strategic thinking, and teamwork.

“There was a lot of excitement and energy in the room was very positive. It was interesting and dynamic, and overall a wonderful experience!”

Mazen Omair, Co-Founder at EduPloyment

About Marie-Christine Luicjkx

Marie-Christine is the Founder & Managing Partner at Fruitful Day, a vertically integrated business that carries out the end-to-end process of sourcing, preparing, packing and delivering premium delicious fresh fruits and healthy snacks across the UAE. 

She is also President Elect at Entrepreneurs’ Organization – UAE Chapter and former Co-Learning Chair in the FY 22/23

Connect with Marie-Christine on LinkedIn


Bring Scale Up! to Your Network

Launching a startup is easy. Successfully raising outside capital and scaling? Much, much harder. Designed for accelerators, incubators, startup teams, board members, early-stage investors, and anyone dealing with startups and scale-ups – Scale Up! helps you understand, experience, and overcome the growth challenges startups often face when trying to scale.