What Is an Enterprise? Definition and Guide

what is an enterprise

Enterprise is another word for a for-profit business or company, but it is most often associated with entrepreneurial ventures. People who have entrepreneurial success are often referred to as “enterprising.”

There are many forms of legal enterprises, with the most common in the U.S. being:

  • Sole proprietorship: A company run by a single individual, typically for their benefit, with unlimited liability for any damages that occur as a result of the business’ operations.
  • Partnership: A business run by two or more individuals or entities who share ownership—not necessarily equal ownership, however.
  • Corporation: A for-profit entity created to shield the owner(s) from liability should the enterprise become subject to a lawsuit. There are different forms of corporations, depending on how many owners there are.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC offers the legal protection of a corporation and the tax treatment of a partnership.
  • Professional Company/Professional Limited Liability Company (PC/PLLC): PCs and PLLCs are for licensed professional firms, such as accountants, architects, engineers, doctors, and lawyers, and provide liability protection similar to a corporation.

The word "enterprise" is often used as a synonym for business.

Enterprise business FAQ

What is an enterprise in a business?

An enterprise in a business is an organization, typically a corporation, engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities. It is typically composed of a number of entities such as divisions, departments, and subsidiaries, and is typically managed by a board of directors and/or executive leadership team.

What is an example of an enterprise business?

An example of an enterprise business is an international airline. This type of business typically requires a large staff, multiple locations, and a significant investment in technology, equipment, and other resources. It often services customers across multiple countries and continents, and provides a wide range of services, from ticketing and baggage handling to in-flight services.

What are the 4 types of enterprise?

  • Sole Proprietorship: A business owned and operated by one individual, with no legal distinction between the business and the owner.
  • Partnership: A business owned by two or more people.
  • Corporation: An independent legal entity owned by shareholders who are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): A hybrid business structure that combines the benefits of a corporation with the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship.

What is difference between enterprise and small business?

The main difference between enterprise and business is that an enterprise is a large-scale organization that engages in commercial activities, while a small business is an individual or small-scale organization that engages in commerce. An enterprise typically involves a complex network of operations, departments, and divisions, while a business is usually a single unit or individual. Enterprises have greater resources, capital, and personnel than businesses, and tend to have a higher risk factor.