The Business Case for Heritage: Maintaining Uniqueness

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The Business Case for Heritage: Maintaining Uniqueness

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At this lunch seminar, Ester van Steekelenburg, Founder of Urban Discovery, will break down how to capitalise on the value of uniqueness. She will illustrate with examples from cities in South East Asia where heritage assets have been successfully used for community development and place branding including Hong Kong.

Emilie, Founder of Doh Eain, will introduce her business, a social investment fund that provides owners of shophouses in Yangon’s historic core the opportunity to renovate and unlock the value of their properties and at the same upgrade the public space in the city.

Join us as we look at how companies can preserve its uniqueness and use it to achieve business outcomes.


About the speakers

Ester van Steekelenburg has been working in heritage preservation all around Asia, from Beijing to Bangkok. She works with governments, developers and NGO’s to build the business case for urban regeneration and to better capitalise on their heritage assets. 

In 2014 she founded social enterprise Urban Discovery to help governments, developers and NGO’s across Asia to build the business case for heritage revitalisation and to better capitalise on their heritage assets. Recent projects include ‘Heritage Works’ an investment programme for renovation of historic properties in Yangon (Myanmar), a heritage management plan for the UNESCO listed imperial city of Hue (Vietnam), heritage led development plan for the heritage town of Thakhek (Laos), an urban regeneration plan for a historic district in Istanbul (Turkey) and feasibility studies for adaptive re-use colonial properties in the old town of Semarang (Indonesia). 

Ester is also the brains behind iDiscover, Urban Discovery’s passion project. Driven by the desire to contribute something tangible in her ongoing efforts to bring more awareness to the region’s living heritage, she created a socially responsible travel app with community curated walking and cycling routes in Asia’s most authentic neighbourhoods. It is a non-controversial, positive and simple tool for destination branding and community dialogue, which is completely complimentary to Urban Discovery’s other services and provides a scalable business model to help keep heritage alive in Asian cities.


Emilie Röell is a social entrepreneur and consultant based in Yangon, Myanmar, since early 2013.

An anthropologist by training, she is interested in creating solutions that make us of and preserve cultural and natural capital while also creating sustainable community impact.

Emilie is the founder of Doh Eain, a social enterprise aimed at heritage conservation and urban regeneration. Doh Eain brings together skills in human centered design, architecture, engineering and restoration, designing solutions that improve private and public space in Yangon for the benefit of families, the community and the city at large.

As a development consultant she has carried out research, advised, and led programs in the areas of cultural and environmental conservation, responsible business, good governance and gender equality. She works/has worked for the EU, UNDP, WWF, IUCN and a number of other INGOs and local civil society groups in Myanmar, as well as in the Pacific and Tanzania previously.

Emilie is also the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network’s representative in Myanmar, an Asian-wide network of philanthropists and impact investors, in which role she helps build a larger and more effective social impact community in Asia.  


Ticket includes a light sandwich lunch.

Member $ 270.00 HKD
Non-Member $ 350.00 HKD
Y-Network $170.00 HKD
Startup $170.00 HKD
  • Reservations in advanced are required. Please consider your booking confirmed unless notified otherwise.
  • Cancellations must be made in writing 24 hours prior to the event. No shows will be charged.
  • This event is closed to the media.
  • The event will be cancelled if the No.8 Typhoon signal or the Black Rain Storm warning is in force.
  • For further information please email
  • Please make cheques payable to: "The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong" & send it to Room 1201 Emperor Group Centre, 288 Hennessy Road, Hong Kong

The Business Case for Heritage: Maintaining Uniqueness

Thu, November 22, 2018
12:30 PM - 02:00 PM

Emilie Röell, Founder, Doh Eain


Ester van Steekelenburg, Founder, Urban Discovery


Opening remarks: Maggie Brooke, Chairwoman, Heritage Hong Kong Foundation

Berkeley Group Office, Suite 3001, 30/F Edinburgh Tower, The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central
Contact Person:
Yammie Yuen
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