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Death Is Big Business

Death becomes creative for funeral entrepreneurs.

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This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Despite our many efforts to stave off the Grim Reaper, one day he'll pay us a visit. While this is a rather somber reminder of our mortality, it also represents a great business opportunity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the funeral industry generates over $11 billion a year in revenue, with each funeral averaging $6,500. This figure doesn't include additional cemetery costs such as burial plots, vaults and monuments, which can tack on a few more grand to each service. With these to-die-for numbers, some savvy entrepreneurs have started thinking outside the pine box to come up with some unconventional and creative options for our final send-offs.

Houston-based Space Services Inc., for example, offers space "burials" in which up to 7 grams of a person's cremated remains are placed inside lipstick-size capsules and launched into orbit.

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