Abstract Virtual enterprises (VEs) are essential components of global manufacturing. Minimizing risk is the key problems to overcome in order to ensure the success of a VE. The operation of VE is always organized by project mode and there are many uncertain factors that are fuzzy in VE. This paper focuses on these two main features of VE. It establishes the fuzzy synthetic evaluation embedded nonlinear integer programming model of risk programming for virtual enterprises and presents a tabu search algorithm with an embedded fuzzy synthetic evaluation for the model. A simulation study suggests that the method is effective.