A RECORD number of companies were registered in Dorset last year, with the county’s total number of businesses topping 50,000 for the first time.

Across the county, there were 8,113 business established and 4,726 dissolved – making a net increase of 3,387.

Poole led the way in the formation of new businesses, with 3,417, followed by Bournemouth at 2,118.

The Branksome East ward of Poole council saw an astonishing 1,676 companies registered.

The total of 50,419 companies in Dorset is up 6.3 per cent on the 2015 figure of 47,433.

The figures come from the Inform Direct Review of UK Company Formations, using data from Companies House and the Office of National Statistics.

John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, said: “These figures underline the positive entrepreneurial culture that fosters new company formations and drives economic growth. So far, at least, we’re not seeing evidence that the Brexit vote has dented confidence among those considering starting up in business.

“Dorset again delivered an impressive number of new companies in 2016 – more than in any previous year – demonstrating that it offers a fertile environment for new businesses to spring up and prosper.

“The total number of companies in the county also passed the 50,000 milestone.”

Drew Mellor, ward councillor for Branksome East and cabinet member with Borough of Poole, said: “As the portfolio holder for commercialisation, I’m delighted to see any example of entrepreneurship and as ward member for Branksome East I’m particularly proud that our ward has got the highest number in Dorset. It’s fantastic news.”

The rise in company formations leaves Dorset with 67.6 companies for every 1,000 people, compared with a national average of 62.6 companies. There were 38,448 businesses in the area five years ago.

West Dorset saw 987 companies founded, East Dorset 485, Christchurch 329, North Dorset 302 and Purbeck 257.

In Bournemouth, Westbourne and West Cliff had the highest number of formations at 335.

Wimborne saw 35 new businesses, Christchurch town centre 30 and Lytchett Matravers 19.