Definition: Sweat equity is a business concept that refers to the value that individual contributes to the company or project through their effort, work, and time, rather than through financial investment. In essence, it is a way for individuals to become stakeholders in a company without having to make a financial investment.
It is mostly used in start-up companies to describe entrepreneurs’ and employees’ contributions to the company without receiving compensation in the form of salary. Instead, they receive a share of the future profits or ownership of the company as compensation for their efforts.
The idea is that sweat equity can increase the company's value and that the individual will reap the rewards in the form of equity or ownership in the company if it is successful.
Sweat equity can take many forms, such as working long hours to build the company, bringing unique skills and expertise to the table, or providing valuable connections and networks that can help the business grow.
This is an attractive option for early-stage startups or projects that may not have the resources to pay salaries to all participants.
Sweat equity is also used in real estate, where individuals can contribute their own labor to renovate or improve a property, which can then increase its value. This allows the owner to invest in their property without using their own financial resources.