Building and sustaining a business requires a lot of support. Through the Microenterprise
program at Native American and Youth Family Center (NAYA) and with help from an IDA,
Tanya Golden is cultivating a business, Golden Tradition Saffron Company, that achieves her
vision of work that is dignified and self-sufficient.
Tanya Golden grew up working with plants and observing her mother’s entrepreneurial efforts. As an adult with two daughters, Golden developed her own ways of making money, making and selling chocolate truffles, and preparing natural medicines.
Wanting to share what she learned, Golden worked with a friend to help build spaces for Native American vendors in the Portland Metro area. Through that network she met Santiago Vazquez with the Microenterprise program at NAYA. Vazquez encouraged her to join his microenterprise class and introduced Golden to the IDA.
Golden states, “[Vazquez has] been there holding my hand every step of the way—because it’s
not just ‘go to this class, have an idea, and start making money.’ It’s a lot of little, tiny steps…so I
can identify what my next move is.”
As Golden developed her plan to grow saffron commercially, NAYA helped her secure additional grant and loan funding, since paid off, that provided additional capital towards her goals. As Golden met more people and became more connected, she learned about additional resources and would introduce others to NAYA staff. Golden has shared her new skills, for example by helping a friend register a business with the state. “We can all support each other,”Golden states.
Building a community-based business is important to Golden. “If I’m working for myself then I’m able to keep my money with businesses that I choose to spend with. I can buy from a [local] small business, which is what I choose to do.” She envisions employing other women who’ve been marginalized. “I feel that I can’t consider myself successful unless other people in the community are also rising up,” she states.
As Golden notes, “Poverty is difficult to climb out of. To have the energy to press forward is
sometimes a huge challenge.” She states that NAYA staff have also provided a lot of emotional
support, checking in to see how she’s doing personally.
As Golden Tradition Saffron Company continues to grow, with greenhouses in both Washington and Josephine counties, Golden feels optimistica bout her ability to make a difference. She explains, “This has been the most support I’ve ever received in my life from family, friends, and community. It’s incredibly empowering and confidence building… I’ve got hope and I’m working toward something. To be able to be a mom, working in the fields like I’ve always done, making medicine–I’m on my way.”