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Mikhail Shelkov: Businessman with a Heart for Philanthropy

Mikhail Shelkov is a successful businessman who has made a significant impact on the Russian national economy. He is the majority shareholder and deputy chairman of the board of directors of the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation, the world’s largest titanium producer. In addition, he owns the Samara Metallurgical Plant (SMZ), a top aluminum producer in the world. He is also a private investor in the Oktava creative industrial cluster in Tula.

Mikhail Shelkov was born in Moscow in 1968. He studied molecular and chemical physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and after graduating, he began his career at Eurosibbank. He quickly moved up in the organization’s hierarchy, and by the age of 26, he was chairman of the board. In 1998, he was appointed head of the RBRD bank.

In 2001, Shelkov became the head of the Prominvest investment holding. He led the company through a period of rapid growth, and in 2014 he acquired a controlling stake in the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation. Under his leadership, the corporation has become one of the most successful titanium producers in the world.

In addition to his business interests, Shelkov is also a well-known philanthropist. He is the founder of the Empathy Charitable Foundation, which supports educational, cultural and social projects. The foundation has given rise to a number of initiatives, including scholarships for students, grants for cultural organizations, and support for social programs.

Shelkov is known for his strategic vision, leadership skills and commitment to making a difference in the world. He places special emphasis on the fact that he is motivated by a desire to make the world a better place. He believes that business can be a force for good, and he is committed to using his resources to help others.

“Mikhail is a decent and talented person,” one of Shelkov’s partners said. “While he is cautious and observant in business, he is no stranger to risk-taking. Every business person depends on someone, like partners or authorities, but Mikhail bears sole responsibility for his capital like no one else does. In this sense, he is a truly independent person.”.

Shelkov’s work is an example of how philanthropy can be used to change the world around us. His commitment to empowering people through education and culture is helping to make the country a better place for everyone.

Oktava Cluster

Mikhail Shelkov is a private investor in the Oktava creative industrial cluster in Tula. The space was created in 2018 on the property of an old acoustic equipment factory, well-known since the Soviet era. It was an Oktava microphone into which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin uttered his famous words, “Let’s go!” during the first space flight.

The enterprise was unprofitable for a long time, until the obsolete equipment was replaced, freeing up a part of the plant to be a sandbox for new ideas. As the project was unfolding, Mikhail Shelkov managed to preserve the industrial atmosphere by using elements of factory structures and old machines in the design. In order for life to flourish, Shelkov aimed to build everything that children, adolescents and adults would need to boost their creative and technical talents. As a result, the Oktava Cluster has become the most popular destination for residents and guests of Tula.

Oktava regularly hosts concerts, performances, lectures, seminars, master classes and other events. The site offers workshops, an engineering laboratory for prototyping, a large technical library, a sound studio and other locations for adults and children. Numerous clubs in Oktava open their doors to the younger generation, while adults can try to launch their own startups.

The “highlight” of the cluster is the multimedia interactive Machine Tool Museum. It is dedicated to the shaping and development of the national industry and Tula as a city of craftsmen. Museum exhibits tell their stories using virtual reality, sound, visual effects and infographics.

Empathy Foundation

The Empathy Foundation, established by businessman Mikhail Shelkov, provides financial support to teachers in the towns of Verkhnyaya and Nizhnyaya Salda. The foundation’s goal is to improve the quality of education by streamlining the resources they need in order to succeed. The monthly payments cover the teachers’ living expenses and allow them to focus on their work.

In addition, the foundation provides educators with personal growth opportunities. A number of programs were launched to help them boost their knowledge and skills. Among them are the Higher Technical School for Talented Youth, the Youth Engineering Accelerator and a contest of professional skills called “Teaching as a Calling!”, which recognizes and rewards outstanding specialists. Another key initiative is the “Psychological Workshop” designed to engage teachers, school children and parents to brainstorm ideas on how to make learning pleasant and comfortable for everyone. The program involves several live seminars, and during the breaks, attendees are free to ask the educational psychologists various questions.

It is no surprise that the foundation didn’t stop there. A new initiative was started to support educational projects aimed at the younger generation. The foundation provides grants to organizations that design cutting-edge and innovative educational programs. The goal is to help young people develop the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.

In the spring of 2022, Empathy helped organize an online course for the Summer Space School for the school children from Verkhnyaya Salda. What is more, to encourage passionate young minds, Mikhail Shelkov’s foundation sponsored their trip to Moscow, where school children from all over the country gather every year, to share their enthusiasm for all things outer space.

Another project is a scholarship for talented students who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields. The goal of the scholarship program is to enhance the soil for academic achievements, new insights and cutting-edge technology. The director believes that major challenges for special needs education could be dealt with if the government would lend its hand. It is crucial to ensure psychological support to parents who have a hard time accepting their child’s diagnosis. “Teachers play an important role in the lives of special children: they help each child overcome his or her individual difficulties and fears in order to achieve academic success,” Mikhail Shelkov explained.

Mikhail Shelkov is a passionate believer in the power of education to change lives. He thinks that by advancing the education system, he is investing in the future. He is certain this is the way to lay the foundation for generations to come. Shelkov’s commitment to education is an inspiration to others. His work is there to ensure that those who come after us will have the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success.

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