A national health innovation hub with the potential to support hundreds of new companies will be established in 2014, the Government has announced on publishing the 10th Action Plan for Jobs Quarterly Progress Report.

It said the new National Health Innovation Hub would be “a win-win for businesses, the health system – and most importantly, for job-creation”.

In essence, it means that innovative Irish healthcare companies will for the first time be able to easily gain access to the health system to test their products and services, increasing the chances of developing commercial ideas and creating jobs.

The hub will aim to support Irish businesses in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and ICT sectors – which together account for over €140bn in annual exports.

The Action Plan for Jobs progress report shows that that 123 out of 144 measures earmarked for completion during Q2 2014 have been implemented.

Among the other Q2 measures delivered are the launch of a national trading online scheme and new measures to make it easier for SMEs to access procurement opportunities.

In addition, 35 City and County Enterprise Boards were legally dissolved and 31 Local Enterprise Offices to provide a first-stop-shop for enterprise supports in every county.

Applications also opened applications for the €2m X-Factor style county-based competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, as part of a drive to encourage more people to start their own businesses.