iDE Global
Romdol Web Hover 2


Toilet Business Owner

Romdol Sovan used to operate a beauty salon but was working far away from her husband and her home province of Siem Reap in Cambodia. For years she dreamed of opening a hardware store to complement her husband’s brick-making and latrine construction business. When the opportunity came to participate in a business incubator program for female entrepreneurs, Sovan leapt at the chance.

The first day of the workshop, Sovan set a goal to begin work on the hardware store. She hit her goal milestones throughout the program and by the end had laid a building foundation on their land. Six months later, Sovan opened their hardware store and began sharing and referring customers between the store and their construction business. “I have the same right to make decisions as my husband,” Sovan said, noting that he agreed quickly when she explained what she had learned in the business workshop, that it was necessary to separate household and business finances. 

Sovan also gained skills in conducting negotiations, explaining, “Before I felt like I was a smaller person, afraid to negotiate with bigger, more important people.” Now she has a technique that involves researching quotations beforehand, setting a goal price point, and coming to the negotiation with a plan. “I feel confident negotiating now. I’m not scared to deal with them and get the best price I can.”

What's next for Romdol:

As the sanitation market matures in Cambodia, agile latrine producing entrepreneurs will shift towards the model of a general hardware store. Sovan and her husband are among those leading the charge, innovating and growing with the market.

Romdol's Details

  • Cambodia
  • Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
Entrepreneur Impact
  • Production
  • Local Distribution & Sales
  • Job Creation
  • Availability of Technology
  • Motivating Investment
Ecosystem Impact
  • Local Economic Development
  • Food & Nutrition Security
  • Water Security
  • Environmental Protection

Country Profile

  • 146/189

    Human Development Index (HDI) Rank

  • 18%

    Poverty Rate

  • 17 Million People


iDE was started as a radical idea that business is a solution to move people out of poverty. 40 years later, we still don't give things away. We create long term change by powering entrepreneurs to end poverty for their families and communities.

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