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What is a commercial enterprise?

Updated March 23, 2017

The term "commercial enterprise" is commonly used in business. The term is broad, but its meaning must be understood by anyone involved in business. Differentiating commercial and non-commercial enterprises is simple if you are familiar with the definition of a commercial enterprise.

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A commercial enterprise is any undertaking that seeks to engage in a profitmaking (i.e. commercial) activities. In simpler terms, a commercial enterprise is a business.


There are many types of commercial enterprises. The simplest form of commercial enterprise is a sole proprietorship, a business with a single owner. Commercial enterprises also include partnerships, cooperatives, corporations and other business forms. In short, any type of business is a commercial enterprise.

What It Is Not

There are several types of enterprises that are not commercial enterprises. These include social enterprises, non-profit organisations and government organisations. Any enterprise that exists for a reason other than commercial exploitation cannot be considered a commercial enterprise.

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About the Author

Wendel Clark began writing in 2006, with work published in academic journals such as "Babel" and "The Podium." He has worked in the field of management and is completing his master's degree in strategic management.

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