In finance, equity is ownership of assets that may have debts or other liabilities attached to them. Equity is measured by subtracting liabilities from the value of an asset. For example, if someone owns a car worth $15,000 and owes $5,000 on the loan used to buy the car, then the difference of $10,000 is equity. Equity can apply to a single asset, such as a car or house, or to an entire business entity. Selling equity in a business is an essential method for acquiring cash needed to start up and expand operations.