How many people are required to form a corporation?

A corporation is a company made of a group of people who have the authority to act as a single entity. This definition may suggest a corporation must consist of many individuals, but can a corporation have one owner? In many states, a sole owner may fill all the requirements to form a corporation.

Corporate Officers

A corporation must declare officers to manage the business in its articles of incorporation. These officers are responsible for routine decision making and have the power to act within defined circumstances.

Standard roles include:

  •    President – The chief executive tasked with overall management of the business
  •    Vice President – An aid to the executive and
  •    Secretary – Recordkeeper responsible for meetings, documentation, and filings
  •    Treasurer – Financial decision like opening bank accounts, managing funds, and cash flow

A single person can potentially fill every officer’s role in the business.


The directors set policy for a company. They do not take an active role in the daily management of the firm, but they elect officers and give permission to carry out instructions. In most firms, a board of directors consists of many individuals with a stake in the firm’s success. The Articles of Incorporation define who these directors are, but they could all be the same person. A single individual could potentially fill the roles of directors and all officers.


The number of shareholders determines how many owners in a corporation. Each shareholder buys or earns stock in the company, and the shares determine how much influence each owner enjoys. A corporation can sell shares to generate revenue or retain them all to reduce influence from outsiders. Each share gives owners a vote on major decisions.

A single owner may hold all the shares of a company and vote with unanimity on all business matters.

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