More Galleries
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Banks won't lend? Use these guys instead Banks often have exhaustive approval processes, high minimums, and flawless credit requirements. But there's a wealth of non-bank alternatives for those who need capital fast. Here are some of the leaders. More
Facebook launched my startup These entrepreneurs relied exclusively on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to jumpstart their small businesses. More
Special Offer

And the grant goes to...

Meet 8 extraordinary startups that nabbed innovation awards from the federal government.

1 of 8
Freund Farms
Freund Farms
Technology: Cow pots
East Canaan, Conn.
$317,525 (September 2007)
Department of Agriculture

Freund Farms has found a way to make the most out of its mounds of poop: cow pots. The company mixes composting bovine waste with other materials and then molds it into earthy-smelling biodegradable planting containers. The product can survive for weeks in a greenhouse and then dissolves when planted into the ground, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic containers.

Brothers Ben and Matt Freund run a 250-cow diary farm, which their father started in 1949. The cow pots idea emerged nine years ago from a desire to find a revenue stream in all of the excess cow dung. There was little money for development, however. "We felt we had a good idea but couldn't afford to get there," says Matt Freund. Then they got a Small Business Innovation Research award through the Department of Agriculture, which had previously given them a rural development grant. "It really allowed us to move forward before someone grabbed it from us," he adds.

The latest SBIR funds will allow them to hire three or four new workers and pay for additional research to refine the manufacturing of the products. "If this thing can take off, it's going to make what comes out of the back of the cows as important as what comes out beneath the cows," Ben Freund explains. - Herman Wong

NEXT: Affinergy Inc.
Last updated April 11 2008: 4:34 PM ET
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.