India’s diverse architecture, art, and monuments reflect its rich cultural heritage. The country has over 30 UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites, which include cultural, natural, and mixed sites. In particular, preserving the past is an economic opportunity and a historical duty for micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. Heritage preservation may be a profitable endeavour that fosters employment creation, economic expansion, and sustainable development. MSMEs can be vital to cultural preservation because they are adaptable and flexible enough to change with the demands of their customers and the market.

Regarding historical conservation, business opportunities can be various services, including restoration, adaptive reuse, tourism, education, and research. These services call on a variety of abilities, including both conventional workmanship and cutting-edge design and engineering. Businesses may collaborate with other stakeholders, including local communities, governments, and NGOs, to develop creative solutions for historical conservation. 

Adaptive Reuse

A lucrative business opportunity from architectural heritage conservation is repurposing historic buildings for new uses. This approach is known as an adaptive reuse. 

The IFBE Space in Ballard Estate, Mumbai, is a prime example of how adaptive reuse and sustainable design can be profitable for businesses. It showcases the potential of historical buildings to be transformed into modern, innovative spaces that cater to the needs of the new-age workforce. The architecture firm responsible for the space, Malik Architecture, has a strong ideology that emphasises sustainability and community responsibility, which is reflected in the design of the space. The building, originally built in the 1930s as a cotton exchange, was left unused for several years before being transformed into a modern, sustainable co-working space by the India Foundation for the Built Environment (IFBE). The building’s architecture is a blend of Art Deco and Neo-Classical styles, with a symmetrical façade and ornate detailing. The interior design of the IFBE Space is minimalistic, focusing on open spaces and natural light. The building’s layout is designed to be flexible, with different types of spaces that can be easily adapted to the changing needs in the art domain.  

Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet1
Layout Plan of IFBE space, Image _©
Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet2
IFBE space, Image _©
Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet3
IFBE space, Image _©


Historic buildings, monuments, and landmarks can also be significant tourist attractions. You can create a tourism business that showcases these buildings’ beauty and cultural significance and provides visitors with guided tours, educational programs, and other experiences. 

The Fort Kochi area in Kerala, India, is a prime example of how conserving architectural heritage can be a business opportunity for tourism. Fort Kochi is a historic town that was once a prominent centre for trade, attracting traders and travellers from across the globe. The area has a rich cultural and architectural heritage evident in its Dutch and Portuguese-style buildings, historic churches, and synagogues.

Several places in the Fort Kochi area have proved to be sustainable businesses in terms of tourism. These places have successfully leveraged the conservation of architectural heritage to create unique and authentic tourism experiences for visitors – 

Brunton Boatyard: The Brunton Boatyard is a heritage hotel in Fort Kochi. The hotel is housed in a restored 19th-century building, offering visitors a unique experience of staying in a heritage property. The Brunton Boatyard is a prime example of how heritage conservation can be leveraged to create sustainable tourism businesses.

Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet4
Brunton Boatyard Hotel, Image _©

Mattancherry Palace: The Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, is a historical palace in Fort Kochi. The Portuguese built the palace in the 16th century and later renovated it by the Dutch. The palace now serves as a museum and attracts visitors interested in learning about the history and culture of the region. The Mattancherry Palace is a sustainable tourism business that generates revenue through visitor entry fees and souvenirs.

Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet5
Mattancherry Palace, Image _©

Jewish Synagogue: The Jewish Synagogue is a historic synagogue located in the Fort Kochi area. The synagogue was built in 1568 and is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. The synagogue is a major tourist attraction and attracts visitors interested in learning about the Jewish heritage of the region. The Jewish Synagogue is a sustainable tourism business that generates revenue through visitor entry fees and souvenirs.

Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet6
Jewish Synagogue, Image _©

Restoration and conservation services

One of the most straightforward ways to make money from architectural heritage conservation is to offer restoration and conservation services.

Another example is the conservation of the Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) undertook the project in collaboration with the ASI. The project aimed to conserve the monument and its surrounding gardens, which had fallen into disrepair over time. The restoration work included cleaning the marble, repairing the dome, and restoring the gardens to their original layout. The project also created sustainable employment opportunities for the local artisans and gardeners who were involved in the restoration work.

Heritage and Business- how does it work? - Sheet7
Dome restoration of Humayun’s Tomb, Image _©

A further instance of how cultural site preservation may create long-term commercial potential is the restoration of Delhi’s Qutub Minar. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the ASI worked together to complete the repair. Cleaning the minaret, patching up the fractures, and restoring the delicate carvings were all parts of the restoration process. To maintain the authenticity of the restoration work, local craftsmen were also trained as part of the project in traditional methods. The initiative provided local craftspeople with long-term work prospects while also assisting with preserving the Qutub Minar’s cultural legacy.

Qutub Complex, Image _©


  1. Qutub Minar (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2023]
  2. Humayun’s Tomb. Nizamuddin Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2023]
  3. Manisha Panickar. Architecture Digest. Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2023]
  4. Ifbe Space. Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2023]

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