DUDLEY Council is setting up its own Dragon's Den to dish out cash from a £250,000 fund for social entrepreneurs.

The money, from the Community Enterprise and Innovation Fund, is earmarked to support the growth of borough projects which will bring benefits to the groups within the community.

The first round of bidding has resulted in 27 applications - proposing ideas ranging from exercise and mobility services for older people to the creation of a community tool library.

Councillor Shaukat Ali, Dudley cabinet member for regeneration, said: "The fantastic response clearly demonstrates a high level of interest from prospective entrepreneurs in setting up social enterprises in the borough.

“The limits of the fund have actually been exceeded by the total amount contained in the bids. Therefore, the Dragon's Den style assessment panel will now be looking to make awards to those that can best demonstrate innovative ideas backed with strong business plans, which work toward the outcomes we aim to achieve for the borough."

The council aims to notify successful applicants by the end of January.