The provincial Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) invites aspiring entrepreneurs and investors with innovative business ideas to take part in the Tabalaza pitching programme. The business initiative of pitching ideas has been created for entrepreneurs, potential investors, financial institutions and training institutions. The chief objective is to create a platform for interdependence to strengthen the prospect of growth. “In a province where unemployment and inequality are high, it is imperative to lure investors and support Free State businesses through initiatives such as this. “The initiative will bring sustainability to local small businesses, gained from capital injection and mentorship from the investors,” said Lebogang Maloale, spokesperson for the department. The department is targeting emerging businesses that are planning to expand or diversify their businesses with innovative business ideas and proof that it can be bankable. Pitching businesses must be located in the Free State and the owner must have a business plan or a proper summary of the business.Applicants who qualify for the programme will undergo basic training to ensure that they are ready to pitch, sell and present their business ideas to a judging panel early in December this year. Interested parties must submit their applications before or on the closing date of Friday (27/10). Application forms are available at the following addresses: St Andrews building, 113 St Andrews Street, Bloemfontein; ) Destea service centres in Qwaqwa (FDC Building, office C106, Setsing Centre, Phuthaditjhaba); ) the corner of Philip and Schilbach Street in Parys; ) 178 Constantia Street in Dagbreek, Welkom; ) 205 Jan van Riebeeck Street, Station View; and) municipal offices in Thaba Nchu.