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?
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 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.
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
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.