According to the former Minister of Trade and Industry, Andisa Mphahlwa, despite government support structures South African women entrepreneurs have not delivered the establishment of many successful and sustainable businesses, as expected. The majority of women are still trapped in the lower echelons of the economy. In contrast, other developing countries such as India, Argentina, and Brazil evidence high female entrepreneurship. This research study will focus on the effectiveness of operational, emotional and financial support provided by the dti (Department of Trade and Industry) initiatives driven through SAWEN (South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Network), examining the issue through gender lenses. This research study aims to establish how formal institutional policies’ effectiveness may be hindered by cultural norms inherent in the way women are treated by society, as well as in how they perceive themselves. The aim is to identify and highlight reasons for the lack of effective female entrepreneurship, with the aim of achieving high-impact entrepreneurship by women in South Africa with a view to growing the economy. The other standpoint adopted in this study is that women make choices to suit their personal circumstances, which may be the drivers of their business choices. This research will focus on the extent to which women want their businesses to expand.