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Kaido 'Baruto' Höövelson joins Enterprise Estonia board

Kaido Höövelson with his wife Elena Tregubova and their baby.
Kaido Höövelson with his wife Elena Tregubova and their baby. Source: Kairit Leibold

Outgoing Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) has appointed Kaido Höövelson to the supervisory board of Enterprise Estonia, a body which  promotes business and regional policy in Estonia.

''Being a member of the Enterprise Estonia supervisory board gives me an excellent platform to help even more Estonian companies develop their potential in the Asian market,'' said Mr. Höövelson.

''I believe that I will be able to help Estonian companies with their contacts and knowledge of the region," he went on.

Mr. Höövelson, 33, from Rohu village in Lääne-Viru County, is perhaps best know to international readers from his time as a top sumo wrestler in Japan, where he competed under the name Baruto Kaito.

He made his debut in the sport there in 2004, rising to the top division two years later, reaching the rank of  ōzeki, the second highest rank in sumo, in 2010. He retired in September 2013 after suffering injury problems, becoming a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in 2015. He has also been active in business.

In addition to supporting entrepreneurship in the Asia region, Mr. Höövelson hopes to contribute to the development of tourism, both by introducing Estonia to the world and through boosting domestic tourism, via his new Enterprise Estonia role.

"I intend to contribute to those areas that I know and undetand well and can bring my experience to. Furthermore, agriculture and rural life are also issues close to my heart," he went on.

Kaido Höövelson replaces Urmas Lahe on the board, whose other members are listed as Erki Mölder, Viljar Lubi, Anto Liivat, Kaia Sarnet, Markus Nisula and Kristel Voltenberg.

Urve Palo announced in late July that she was both stepping down as Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology and leaving the Social Democratic Party (SDE). Speculation at the time revolved around leadership of the party; Ms. Palo has been reported as long being a supporter of current leader Jevgeni Ossinovski, who had seen a leadership challenge from current Minister of Culture Indrek Saar.

Ms. Palo's last day in the post will be 23 August, and she is set to become Deputy Council Leader in the Viimsi municipality, just outside Tallinn. No firm replacement for her has been found yet, although Rene Tammist has been touted as one possibility.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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