IT MAY be something in the water, or perhaps it's the sea air, but Dorset has been the birthplace of many brilliant business ideas.

Liquid crystal technology, used in every mobile phone and laptop computer in the world, was developed by scientists in Poole.

The software that allows us to identify telephone callers though 1471 was developed here. So was the concept of refuelling planes in mid air.

Extraordinary inventions in the marine world - like sophisticated sewage systems for cruiseliners and high tech rudders for tankers - have come out of Hamworthy.

And we are not just talking history. Dorset's tradition of invention and innovation is as strong today as it ever was.

Weymouth brought us one of Britain's most successful retailers, New Look.

Just down the road, Southwell Business Park on Portland is proving to be a remarkable cradle for new businesses - like the little firm developing a pump that requires no energy other than water. What a boon that will be to farmers in poor countries.

Fitness First, started in Bournemouth 12 years ago, is now the world's second-biggest health club with a million members globally.

Who would have imagined a few years ago that a small speedboat builder would turn Poole Quay into the home of Britain biggest manufacturer of powerboats and that millionaires from Miami to Monte Carlo would come to know the Sunseeker brand?

One could mention dozens more examples of outstanding Dorset companies working at the cutting edge of their industries.

They are an inspiration to everyone in business here. They are proof that however beautiful and laid back this county may seem, anything in business is possible here.

First published: August 23