The term ‘equity’ has several different meanings, but for the purposes of this wiki, equity means ownership of an entire or part of a business. This can range from ownership of a stall in the market, to owning shares of stock in a company. When investors purchase equity, they pay funds to the previous business owners, who are thus able to invest those funds in real assets as described in the section titled "What is Finance?".
For equity investors such as mutual funds, their return comes in the form of dividends and an expected increase in the value of the investment.