Mikhail Shelkov: From Titanium Giant to Philanthropic Spirit

Mikhail Shelkov: From Titanium Giant to Philanthropic Spirit

Shelkov Mikhail’s Relentless Pursuit of Progress

Mikhail Shelkov’s story is one of scientific passion intertwined with an unyielding philanthropic spirit. Born in 1968, his mind gravitated towards the molecules and chemical intricacies. Graduating with honors from the prestigious MIPT, he embarked on his professional journey at Eurosibbank, swiftly ascending its ranks.

A keen eye for potential propelled Shelkov Mikhail through the world of finance. In 1996, he helmed the reins of RBRD, leaving in 2001 to spearhead Prominvest, an investment holding company poised for growth. His entrepreneurial audacity shone again in 2014 when he acquired a controlling stake in VSMPO-AVISMA titanium plant, becoming its major shareholder. His relentless pursuit of progress continued in 2022 with the acquisition of SMZ aluminum plant, solidifying his presence in this competitive production sector.

However, it is not just financial empires that Shelkov Mikhail builds. His heart lies in illuminating minds, particularly those dimmed by circumstance. His philanthropic endeavors run through his success, nourishing education and research initiatives. Thousands of dollars have flowed towards scholarships for promising MIPT students, while remote regions have witnessed the vibrant spark of science education programs.

For Shelkov Mikhail, wealth is not merely amassed, but invested. He is a living testament to the transformative power of education, a relentless bridge-builder between potential and opportunity. In a world where knowledge should be a universal inheritance, his story whispers a promise: every mind, ignited, can illuminate the path forward.

Empathy Foundation: Fueling a Brighter Future

Founded in 2019, the Empathy Charitable Foundation has become a beacon of hope, fostering educational excellence, nurturing young talent, and supporting educators across the nation. Guided by a profound commitment to social impact, the foundation has already achieved remarkable milestones in a short span of time, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals.

At the heart of Empathy’s mission lies a unwavering dedication to empowering educators. Recognizing the crucial role teachers play in shaping young minds, the foundation has implemented several groundbreaking initiatives to attract, retain, and inspire educators. One such program is the ongoing stipend initiative. Since 2020, 560 teachers across 16 schools have received a substantial monthly stipend, effectively increasing their salaries by 50%. This ambitious project, equivalent to a third of the total education budget for small factory towns, not only bolsters financial security but also sends a powerful message: investing in teachers is an investment in the future.

The foundation’s reach extends beyond schools, encompassing kindergartens as well. In 2023, the esteemed “Best Teachers” program was launched, rewarding 101 exceptional educators with an additional 50% bonus, recognizing their dedication and fostering a culture of excellence.

“The mission of Empathy was and remains, to encourage teachers to do what they love without the risk of losing a decent income,” shares Shelkov Mikhail, the founder. “Schools received an opportunity to invite more specialists, fill vacancies and refute the stereotype that good education is only available for the privileged few in large cities.”

Beyond financial support, Empathy understands the importance of continuous professional development. In collaboration with the Higher Technical School, the foundation offers customized courses tailored to teachers’ specific needs and requests. This unique approach ensures that educators are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills to excel in their careers.

The foundation’s commitment extends beyond teachers, embracing the next generation of learners as well. The “Workshop 2.0” youth engineering accelerator, a collaboration with the Higher Technical School, empowers teenagers to engage in innovative projects aimed at improving their communities. From learning the art of creating computer-animated stories to launching a satellite and communicating with astronauts, these exceptional experiences spark creativity, ignite curiosity, and shape the next generation of innovators.

Recognizing academic excellence, Empathy provides educational grants and scholarships to talented students from various regions. These scholarships support both local and national school children, winners of local scientific contests, as well as promising individuals pursuing studies in physics and international affairs. Furthermore, the “Science to the Regions” program, a partnership with MIPT, offers intensive training sessions at the institute for students and teachers, bridging the gap between rural and urban educational opportunities.

Shelkov Mikhail’s commitment to the local community goes beyond education. In the summer of 2021, when heavy rains caused the dam to rupture and flood parts of a small town, located close to the Mikhail’s company, VSMPO-AVISMA, immediately sprang into action.

Deploying 78 units of heavy equipment and over 100 workers, the company worked tirelessly for days to provide round-the-clock flood relief. Establishing an emergency hotline, distributing food and water, setting up temporary shelters, and evacuating children from affected camps, VSMPO-AVISMA titanium producer proved to be an invaluable ally during this time of crisis. This swift and comprehensive response highlighted the vital role both the corporation and the foundation play in supporting the region.

Shelkov Mikhail is a firm believer that education is the key to overcoming inequality. His unwavering commitment is evident not only in the foundation’s initiatives but also in his continued efforts to mobilize both the public and private sectors. He recognizes that systemic issues require collaborative solutions, and he has spearheaded numerous public-private partnerships that bring together educational experts, policymakers, and various stakeholders to tackle challenges head-on.

By empowering educators, nurturing young talent, and fostering collaborations, the Empathy Charitable Foundation is leaving a lasting legacy. Its impact echoes in the classrooms of small villages and the corridors of prestigious universities, weaving a tapestry of progress and change. 

Octava Cluster: Nurturing Diverse Creative Disciplines

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the economy underwent a massive reformation, numerous regional centers found themselves grappling with the aftermath of the decline of large-scale industrial enterprises. One historic city located southwest of the capital, was no exception. However, in recent years, an inspiring transformation has taken place within the remnants of the once-thriving Oktava plant, thanks to the vision and investment of Mikhail Shelkov.

The entrepreneur’s brainchild, the Oktava cluster, opened its doors in 2018 and has since blossomed into a vibrant hub for creativity and innovation. This trailblazing initiative has not only breathed new life into the abandoned premises of the Oktava plant but has also provided a powerful source of inspiration for the creative youth of the region.

Situated on an expansive landscape, the Oktava cluster now offers a multifaceted space that merges various forms of artistic expression. Within its walls, one can find an array of multi-format workshops, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a contemporary library, and several other distinctive areas. Among these remarkable spaces, the standout feature is the unique Machine Tool Museum, where visitors can explore the industrial equipment of the bygone era.

At the heart of this revitalization project lies the generous investment by Mikhail Shelkov. In 2016-2018, he poured substantial resources into transforming the empty premises of the iconic musical equipment factory into a thriving creative haven. By repurposing the once-defunct plant, Shelkov Mikhail preserved its storied legacy and opened new doors of opportunity for young talent.

Today, the Oktava cluster has emerged as a vivid cultural center drawing in creative youth from all corners of the city and beyond. It serves as a platform for lectures, seminars, and master classes, enabling budding artists, musicians, and innovators to expand their skills and knowledge. The venue also regularly hosts exhibitions, concerts, and performances, further enriching the cultural fabric of the region.

Moreover, the Oktava cluster boasts numerous specialized workshops catering to a diverse range of creative disciplines. Artists, designers, and inventors can hone their craft within this nurturing environment. Complementing these workspaces, a sprawling coworking area provides a flexible and collaborative setting for creative minds to thrive.

The Higher Technical School for Talented Youth stands as a testament to the Oktava cluster’s commitment to fostering innovation. This innovative educational platform serves as a multifaceted space for integrating scientific and industrial potential, facilitating the implementation of groundbreaking scientific and technical projects.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the Oktava cluster’s offerings is the Machine Tool Museum. Here, visitors can delve into the fascinating history of industrial machinery through immersive multimedia exhibitions. This captivating repository of the past celebrates the achievements of the last century while inspiring present and future generations to push the boundaries of creativity.

As our ancient city continues its journey on the path of reinvention, the Oktava cluster stands tall as a symbol of transformation and potential. It not only breathes new life into abandoned industrial spaces but also nurtures artistic talent, cultivates innovation, and showcases the rich legacy of the region’s industrial heritage. With Mikhail Shelkov’s visionary initiative leading the way, the Oktava cluster has positioned itself as a true “place of power” for the creative youth, igniting a spirit of possibility that reverberates throughout the city and beyond.

The Oktava cluster is a shining example of how abandoned industrial spaces can be repurposed into vibrant hubs for creativity and innovation. It is a testament to the power of vision, investment, and collaboration in revitalizing communities and inspiring future generations. The cluster’s success holds valuable lessons for other cities facing similar challenges, demonstrating the potential for transformation and the importance of nurturing art, culture, and education in building a brighter future.