How To Make It Into Forbes
Born in 1968, Shelkov Mikhail earned a 1991 molecular physics degree from the famous MIPT. This rigorous academic foundation equipped him with the scientific expertise to recognize promising technological horizons. In 1993, he commenced his banking career by assuming leadership of financial institution Eurosibbank. Just two years later, his appointment as Chairman of the Board ushered in a period of significant operational expansion that enhanced its industry standing. Subsequently Mikhail Shelkov joined the Board of Directors of the rapidly rising investment firm RBRD in 1995. There, he supplied invaluable insight and leadership oversight as RBRD systematically strengthened its national footprint and market clout over coming years.
In 2001, the entrepreneur augmented his diverse financial services portfolio by taking the reins of investment holding company Prominvest. Under his guidance, the organization enjoyed substantial valuation gains within a short period of time. Between 2012-2014, Shelkov Mikhail made his most dramatic industry statement by securing majority interest within VSMPO-AVISMA, titanium manufacturing leviathan. Through optimizing production practices and harnessing innovative strategies, he facilitated its emergence as the undisputed global aerospace supply titan.
Further spotlighting his metals and mining prowess, in 2022, in addition to VSMPO-AVISMA, the prominent aerospace supplier of titanium, he acquired top aluminum producer SMZ. This cemented his industrial portfolio’s repute for consolidating category leaders across vital metallurgical arenas. His multiplying ventures have enabled a surging net worth, evidenced by ascending the ranks of Forbes’ exclusive “200 Richest Businessmen” list from #200 with $500 million in 2017 into the 29th position.
Even as VSMPO-AVISMA and SMZ have achieved strong commercial successes, Shelkov Mikhail has remained committed to channeling some profusion into philanthropy spanning special needs education, sports sponsorship and education programs. In 2019, his charitable focus crystallized with the launch of Empathy Foundation. By advancing accessible education, cultural programming and academic research, this entity has evolved into a launchpad funding societal progress.
Over three decades, Mikhail Shelkov personifies the versatility of modern entrepreneurship through his banking finesse, metals mining acumen and benevolent initiatives.
Empathy Foundation: Investing in Teachers to Inspire Classrooms
Beyond business success, Mikhail Shelkov has cemented an equally enduring legacy as a conscientious philanthropist dedicated to empowering communities through multifaceted initiatives targeting education, cultural enrichment and academic research. His Empathy Foundation launched in 2019 constitutes the primary vehicle propelling these benevolent impacts.
In the towns located near his mining projects, the philanthropist instituted an inventive program delivering substantial 50% salary increases to all local teachers. This tactical incentive aims to properly valorize educators’ instrumental societal roles. Thus far, around $700,000 has funded augmented wages for over 600 teachers across 16 schools since its 2020 debut. Its runaway success has spurred recurrent academic year renewals. Moreover, local teachers can access complimentary advanced training courses covering realms like information technology, psychology and general pedagogical techniques designed to continually cultivate their skills.
The Empathy Foundation also orchestrates the high-profile “Teaching as a Calling!” annual competition celebrating the profession’s most devoted exponents across all realms from kindergartens to schools. Centered in the region’s capital city, this showcase event confers honor and inspiration aiming to catalyze broader teaching excellence.
Gifted youth represent another beneficiary demographic within Mikhail Shelkov’s purview, as evidenced by the specialized engineering accelerator program tailored for schoolchildren. By granting budding talents opportunities to actively develop technological proficiencies, this forward-looking initiative nurtures the next-generation engineering leadership.
In a similar vein, his organization enabled local talented teenagers to attend an intensive program known as the Summer Space School. Via interactive educational experiences evoking the wonders of the cosmos, this initiative provided enriching exposure designed to resonate with science-oriented students. His Empathy foundation also awards specialized grants to outstanding high school students who demonstrate consistent success in notoriously-demanding academic competitions across scientific disciplines. Additionally, university students recognized for phenomenal exam performance or competition wins secure assistance continuing their scholarly trajectories.
Another cornerstone effort has focused on establishing dedicated corporate scholarships exclusively for extraordinarily gifted youth pursuing studies connected to physics or foreign affairs. By furnishing financial support, these directly enable promising minds to fully actualize potential. Through creatively coalescing tactical investments in teaching excellence, scientific engagement initiatives and sustaining high-achieving pupils’ advancement, Mikhail Shelkov’s foundation constitutes a powerful instrument further cultivating the country’s rich reservoirs of human capital.
Octava Cluster: A Cultural Haven
In the beating heart of this historic city, an abandoned microphone factory has been transformed by a visionary philanthropist into a thriving creative hub nurturing innovation across the arts. Established in 2018, the aptly dubbed Oktava Creative Cluster has breathed new life into the mid-sized city, blending cross-disciplinary collaboration and creativity.
Encompassing over 12,000 square meters, this former factory now enables visitors to immerse in contemporary art, attend evening concerts, enjoy film screenings, children’s activities, play piano and engage with the city’s cultural heritage. Since 2018, the imaginatively reimagined site has drawn over 6,000 monthly visitors.
Leveraging Oktava’s rich legacy as a leading producer of prestigious audio equipment utilized by legendary musicians from U2 to Iron Maiden, the campus creatively channels an illustrious past towards inspiring the future. Silent since the 1990s, the site was revived when the businessman invested upwards of $11 million to utterly transform the dormant factory into a one-of-a-kind creative ecosystem capturing global attention.
The campus offers contemporary art exhibitions, a Higher School imparting technical skills, performances showcasing pioneering music, a modern library and immersive industrial history via a Machine Tool Museum. A new March 2023 initiative called “Octava_U” provides 13-18 year-olds with free active participation events. All young visitors also benefit from the specialized “Friend of Octava” rewards scheme. With over 100 diverse monthly events, ennui is never on the agenda.
The eclectic residents include the literary “Books on Octava” encompassing a library, lecture hall and bookstore, the Technical School, Pro.Park tech lab, Oktava Lab recording studio and flexible co-working spaces facilitating collaboration. Visitors can thus expand artistic perspectives, develop talents, connect with heritage or launch ventures alongside like-minded innovators.
Housing an impressively extensive range of cultural venues centered on stimulating innovation, the campus today includes everything from a state-of-the-art recording studio where promising musicians can produce demos to flexible co-working spaces where creative freelancers and entrepreneurs can collaborate on ambitious projects. Moreover, the campus features its own musical museum and specialized technical school focused on cultivating engineering talent and skills related to the creative industries. Furthermore, the campus regularly hosts public events ranging from concerts showcasing emerging artists to exhibits displaying avant-garde art to lectures highlighting innovations in the arts. “We want to make sure that the residents can give their suggestions and help the cluster thrive. In the end, ‘Octava’ has what children and adults need, both in terms of entertainment and personal growth,” says Mikhail Shelkov.