The cream of the nation's young entrepreneurs are seeking innovative ways to get their ideas up and running. James Dunn reports
FROM the tough competition of the Chicago restaurant industry to the communal ideal of an Israeli kibbutz might seem an unlikely path for entrepreneurial inspiration. But for Melbourne caterer Nicholas Morris, that's what it took for his big idea -- a chain of vegetarian restaurants -- to take shape.
Morris, 22, spent 2004 working in Chicago for a vegan restaurant. "I saw the effect that eating healthy food and just feeling better had on the customers. It really inspired me to think of what I could do in Australia." Morris decided to continue his world travels, researching vegetarian food along the way. "I wanted to find out what other cultures had to offer, so I travelled around the world, sampling vegetarian dishes from a lot of different countries. In 2005 I spent six months in an African Hebrew community in Israel, a community that has been vegan for 40 years. It's the world's largest vegan community, so I sought them out, to see the benefits of healthy eating first-hand, learning about health and nutrition." Armed with "hundreds of recipes and a heap of inspiration", Morris returned to Australia and set up his catering business, Soulveg, earlier this year. But opening a restaurant under that name - the first of many, he hopes - remains his ambition.