Biography: A Successful Entrepreneur
Mikhail Shelkov is an entrepreneur who has made a significant impact on the global economy. He is the majority shareholder of VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest producer of titanium and titanium alloys. He has also invested in a number of other industries, such as SMZ, one of the largest global aluminum producers, and in culture and education, including the Oktava creative industrial cluster in Tula as well as the Empathy Charitable Foundation.
Shelkov was born in Moscow in 1968. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1991 with a degree in molecular and chemical physics. After graduating, he worked as a banker and a professional investor. In 1995, he joined the RBRD.
In 2001, he was appointed CEO of Prominvest, an investment holding. He held this position until 2012. That year, the accomplished executive and his partners acquired a controlling stake in VSMPO-AVISMA. Since then, he has been the majority shareholder of the company.
Under his management, VSMPO-AVISMA has become a global leader in the production of pure titanium and its alloys. The company supplies its products to a wide range of industries, including aerospace, medicine and automotive.
In addition to his business interests, Shelkov is also a philanthropist. He is the founder of the Empathy Charitable Foundation, which supports socially significant projects in the fields of education, culture, science and enlightenment.
Being a successful entrepreneur who has made a significant impact on the global economy, Shelkov is an inspiration to others who are looking to start their own businesses.
Empathy Foundation: Transforming Mass Education
Mikhail Shelkov has made a difference not only through his good sense of business, but also through his commitment to giving back to his community.
He is the founder of the Empathy Foundation, which supports a variety of educational and social programs. One of the foundation’s most notable programs is the “Teaching as a Calling” competition, which provides financial support and professional development opportunities to teachers in the Sverdlovsk Region. The program has helped to attract more young people to the teaching profession and has improved the quality of education in the region.
Shelkov is also a strong supporter of STEM education. He has funded the creation of an engineering accelerator in the towns of Verkhnyaya and Nizhnyaya Salda, where teenagers can learn about engineering and design. The accelerator has helped to produce a number of young engineers who are now making a difference in their communities.
In addition to his work in education, the entrepreneur is also a passionate advocate for sports. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Marathon-Tula Cycling Team and the national Powerboating Federation.
The Empathy Charitable Foundation has demonstrated its dedication by contributing to the organizing of an exciting online program called the Summer Space School. Aimed at teenagers and adults all over the country as well as in Verkhnyaya Salda, this course seeks to expand their horizons and inspire them to chase their dreams to study space.
The foundation has recognized the outstanding achievements of talented individuals by awarding scholarships to winners of both local and international competitions, as well as graduates who have excelled in the Unified State Examination. These scholarships not only provide financial support but also serve as a testament to their hard work and devotion.
Furthermore, Shelkov has established scholarships for students studying foreign affairs and physics. This support not only opens up opportunities for higher education but also motivates these young individuals to excel in their chosen fields.
In Yekaterinburg, the foundation helped host the qualifying round to the ‘Gifted Girls and Brainy Boys’ show, a major intellectual contest in the country. The 30 most talented school children from the Sverdlovsk Region gathered there to showcase their skills. The businessman stressed the importance of strong connections between teachers and students, noting that these relationships are essential for academic success.
A new program launched by Mikhail Shelkov’s Empathy Foundation is giving rural students in the Perm Territory and Sverdlovsk Region the opportunity to study mathematics, IT and physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). The two-week program, called “Science to the Regions”, provides full scholarships to 30 students and 4 teachers from each region. The scholarships cover the costs of transportation, accommodation, meals, training and tours.
The “Science to the Regions” program goes beyond mere academic instruction. As part of the program, the teachers attending the course are provided with an extensive training course conducted by the distinguished methodologists from MIPT. This comprehensive course spans 72 academic hours and equips these educators with the necessary tools and knowledge to implement innovative teaching methodologies in their classrooms. The foundation has further pledged to expand the program’s reach, injecting an additional $70 000 into the budget for the upcoming edition, bringing the total up to $127 000.
Lastly, when the towns of Verkhnyaya and Nizhnyaya Salda were struck by a devastating natural disaster in 2021, the foundation lent a helping hand to the affected residents. It provided financial aid right away, offering a glimmer of hope and support during their time of need.
Through its unwavering commitment to empathy and kindness, the Empathy Charitable Foundation has become a symbol of hope, transforming lives and strengthening the bond of the community. Shelkov’s story is a reminder that we all have the power to make a difference.
The Story of the Oktava Creative Cluster
A visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist, Shelkov Mikhail is transforming the creative landscape of Tula, a city steeped in history. Through his passion for education and support for the youth, he has embarked on a unique venture – the Oktava creative industrial cluster. This one-of-a-kind project has united cognitive and creative elements, bringing together citizens of Tula in a captivating space for recreation, learning and innovation.
Ever the visionary, the entrepreneur aimed to create a center that would serve as a magnet for the city’s active residents. Today, the Oktava Creative Cluster has become the go-to destination for the community, inspiring both young and old to explore their creative impulses.
Preserving the industrial atmosphere, Shelkov incorporated elements of factory structures and old machines into the design, ensuring a distinct ambiance throughout the cluster. His focus was to provide everything children, adolescents and adults needed for their creative development, effectively breathing new life into the site.
The Oktava Creative Cluster has quickly become a hub for cultural events: hosting concerts, performances, lectures, seminars and master classes. With creative workshops, an engineering laboratory for prototyping, a comprehensive technical library and a state-of-the-art sound studio, the cluster caters to the needs of both adults and children. Aspiring entrepreneurs have the opportunity to implement their own startups, while numerous clubs are available for the younger generation, encouraging their creativity to flourish.
The cluster’s crown jewel, the multimedia interactive Machine Tool Museum, captivates visitors with its virtual reality exhibits that narrate the national history of industry and the development of Tula as a city of craftsmen. These exhibits come alive with sound and visual effects, as well as captivating infographics, creating an immersive journey through time.
However, Shelkov’s determination to enhance the cluster does not end here. The Oktava project continues to expand, with new locations that cater to the city’s evolving needs. Most recently, a co-working space that fosters creativity and collaboration was opened in May 2022. It is a haven for freelancers, students, individual entrepreneurs and anyone seeking an affordable and convenient workspace. Equipped with essential amenities, such as electrical outlets, high-quality lighting, ergonomic chairs and a fully equipped kitchenette, this new space has quickly become a popular choice for Tula residents.
What sets the Oktava Cluster apart is its unique origin. Shelkov breathed new life into the unused premises of the acoustic equipment plant, aptly named Oktava. The plant, known for its microphones coveted by renowned pioneers and artists worldwide, including Yuri Gagarin, U2 and Marilyn Manson, has once again regained its status as a prominent national manufacturer of high-tech electro-acoustic products.
The creative cluster also serves as a platform for other philanthropic projects, particularly in collaboration with the Empathy Foundation. The foundation, recognized for its noble endeavors, has even established its representative office within the Oktava Cluster. Notably, the “Teaching as a Calling” contest winners have been awarded here for two consecutive years, further highlighting Shelkov’s dedication to promoting education and youth development.