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50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2020

PHILIA EARTH : INSTILLING A HEART AND A SOUL INTO A COMPANY

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The founders of Philia Earth are Kenneth K. Y. Poon and Dr. Ailin Iwan, a husband and a wife who share a vision to create a healthy built environment and transformative education through sustainable and innovative solutions. They realize that good business can make positive impact to society without having to sacrifice health, friendship, or family relationship if it is well handled. In 2016 they felt the calling from God to establish such a company. They prayed and gave serious thoughts about it, believing that:  GOD IS THEIR ULTIMATE CEO.

The founders envision to instill a heart and a soul to a company that goes beyond profit-making, but

having a vision and mission to protect and beautify God’s garden (Planet Earth) for His people while cultivating a team spirit based on trust, friendship, and mentorship. They name their company “Philia Earth.” The word “philia” originates from Greek: “friendship love”. The term “earth” symbolizes their intention to be “friends of the Earth” through protecting its natural resources and to foster rapport among colleagues and business partners, consultants, and respectful clients. They hope to take responsibility to exercise God’s given skills and talents to solve the real world’s problems caused by climate change and social inequality with the slogan.

Philia Earth’s business philosophy is: 1) Investing in people; 2) Focusing on the process as much as results, and 3) Developing a Sustainable Business Model. The company also integrated the 5 keys business promises to deliver projects and services up to the most excellent standard to the best of their abilities: 1) Quality; 2) Sustainability; 3) Innovation; 4) Efficiency; and 5) Affordability. Finally, they developed 7 Core Values of Business Principles: 1) Family-Work-Life Balance; 2) Respect; 3) Integrity; 4) Ethics; 5) Excellence; 6) Profitability; and 7) Charity. They were thankful that God facilitated “Philia Earth” to be formed on Earth Day: 22 April, 2016, in Hong Kong (www.philiaearth.com/aboutus).

The Struggles of Work-Family-Life-Balance as Start-Up Entrepreneurs

It is God’s grace that the company continues to grow and receive local and international recognition such as becoming an incubate in Hong Kong Design Center (2018-2020); being added as one of the youngest architectural service providers to the Belt and Road Portal of Hong Kong Trade Development Council in 2018; receiving International Business Award (Silver) as Startup of the Year in 2018; recipient of Hong Kong Most Outstanding Leaders Award in 2019; and being featured in the United Nations Global Goals Yearbook 2019. Ailin was pregnant in 2018 and gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl, Melissa Judith Poon. While both founders were happy to welcome a new member in their family, 2018 to 2019 were tough years for them who are new in parenting and still learning to manage a growing international team in Philia Earth.

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Headquartered in Hong Kong, Philia Earth, together with many other companies in Hong Kong, encountered an especially difficult 2019 because of various city-wise public demonstrations, followed by the pandemic COVID-19 (corona virus). This dangerous spread of virus challenge people’s world view and the way businesses operates. Philia Earth’s international team has already used to communicate openly and digitally, and this global threat in some regards brought them closer to understand the situation in the other team members’ cities. Healthy collaboration is often lacking in a highly competitive business world where people are valued only for their skills and not receiving many appreciations as dignified human beings. It is truly God’s miracles and to the founders’ surprise that in the company’s 4th year and under such tough time, Philia Earth is honored with this global recognition as 50 fastest growing companies in 2020 by the Silicon Review. Starting from 22 April 2020, Ailin takes the role of Managing Partner and CEO, and Kenneth becomes Design partner and Chairman of the group. The founders recently incorporated Philia Earth, Inc. in the United States with its headquarters in San Francisco.

Advancing Humanities for a Thriving World with “Research + Practice + Technology”

Ailin and Kenneth see their role to lay down the cornerstone to blossom Philia Earth into a corporation with the capacity to “Advance Humanities for a Thriving World” through the integration of research, practice, and technology. Research is critical to understand the problems of an issue. Research works as mirror to reflect the successful and failing models, which in turns improves practice. In this regard, conducting research before practice can avoid unnecessary pitfalls, maximize the success rate, and deliver exceptional projects with efficiency. Particularly, if the team members are passionate and have the expertise and skills, the projects will be delivered with great excitement. Practice is the time when the team dedicates their expertise and knowledge to various projects. Technology streamlines the company to be more efficient and competitive, to communicate internally and externally among their team members and clients across various places in the world. There are many aspects of technology that the team will develop in Philia Earth, to assist city planning, building design, construction, and medical industry in the future. They envision the 21st Century Cities to be Sustainable and Smart Cities inclusive for children, elderly, and special needs, and it can be facilitated through the integration of “Research + Practice + Technology.”

Philia Earth team and service

Our Philia Earth team members are mostly building professionals who are trained in green buildings, sustainable and smart cities. There is also a group of academic scholars and research consultants responsible for high profile research projects. All team members have good hearts and kindness on top of their amazing skill set and commitment to push the bar in project delivery so that each project is not only done in excellent quality, but also brings positive impact to the society. Philia Earth is currently diversifying its business from providing consulting services to developing its own development projects. The team will announce more details in due course. Anyone who might be interested in our service or projects can email us at newbusiness@philiaearth.com.

Intergenerational Collaborative Effort to Nurture Generation Alpha & Beyond

The 21st century has many advantages and challenges that did not exist before. As founders of Philia Earth and new parents, Ailin and Kenneth envision the company to be the vehicle to reinvent a collaborative landscape that is not limited to office or locations. They also envision to foster intergenerational efforts to seek innovative solutions to nurture and educate “Generation Alpha” (children who are born in the digital age) to be global leaders who are literate about Sustainable Development Goals while at the same time have the heart, mind, and skills to advance humanities for a thriving world.

KENNETH & AILIN: LEADING THROUGH IMITATING CHRIST’S HUMILITY 

(Philippians 2:1-11)

Kenneth K.Y. Poon (Design Partner and Chairman) graduated with the degree in Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and Bachelor of Arts (Architecture) from University of California, Berkeley. He is a licensed Architect in Hong Kong and a green building professional accredited by the Hong Kong Green Building Council. He serves in a leadership role to design different types of buildings ranged from elderly homes, boutique hotels, commercial space, factories, to high-rise mixed-use development in Hong Kong and China. Kenneth was an adjunct lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he taught sustainable interior design (www.kennethkypoon.com).

Ailin Iwan Poon (Managing Partner and CEO) holds a PhD in an interdisciplinary study of Architecture and Education from the University of Hong Kong with research in Green Schools in Bali, Berkeley, and Hong Kong; a Master of Arts degree from San Francisco State University focusing on Global Citizenship Education; and BA (Architecture) from University of California, Berkeley with double minors in Business and City Planning. Her work experience included directing the design team of The Globe Cultural Mall development in Fremont, California; teaching in several kindergartens in the San Francisco Bay Area; designing two kindergartens in Macau and Nanjing; teaching Child Development courses at Lingnan University; and tutoring Life Worth Living course at The University of Hong Kong (www.ailiniwan.com).