Clinton Elliott: From Trials to Triumph in First Nation Entrepreneurship
Clinton Elliott is an entrepreneur and an emblem of hope, resilience, and change. The Okanese carpenter from Balcarres, Saskatchewan, and the proud owner of Patience Plus Contracting, is forging a journey of determination, community support, and an unwavering spirit.
Clinton’s initial foray into entrepreneurship began from a spark of discontent. He reminisces, “I had seen what was in the housing units of my First Nation of Okanese and knew I could build a better long-lasting product.” Thus, in 2010, Clinton launched a custom cabinet shop to provide quality cabinets below the standard cost for his community. Today, his vision has expanded far beyond. “Now, with my partner, we’ve grown into not only providing cabinets but steel roofs, decks and ramps, and interior and exterior renovations.”
The heart of Clinton’s business lies in its impact. More than just profit, it’s about “giving back to my community.” The joy on his customers’ faces when they see the finished product is his biggest reward. However, growth has come with its challenges. “The most challenging part is keeping up with our workload. We’ve had to turn customers away because we don’t have the manpower,” Clinton admits.
Clinton credits his late Father, Ron Elliott, as a pivotal force. “My father was my biggest supporter,” he fondly remembers. The legacy of mentorship continued with William Besler, who introduced him to the nuances of custom cabinet building and finishing carpentry, leaving him with a timeless piece of advice: “The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.”
It’s not just business acumen that steers Clinton’s entrepreneurial ship. The grounding force? “Indigenous approaches,” he states. “Giving thanks to the Creator each day helped me change my life, direct me into helping not only my community but many.” This spiritual rootedness resonates deeply with his Indigenous heritage, infusing his business with a sense of purpose and community upliftment.
His experiences – from battling 15 years of addiction, achieving 17 years of sobriety, acquiring his grade 12 and red seal certification in carpentry, to establishing himself as a successful First Nation Entrepreneur for 13 years – have shaped his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. “Do it, take that leap. You’re only stopping yourself from succeeding if you don’t,” he encourages.
Applying for the Pow Wow Pitch was a testament to his willingness to embrace opportunities and face challenges head-on. “I thought I might as well give it a shot. I’m used to having to do things the hard way. Winning would support our expansion.”
Above all, Clinton’s story is a beacon for many. Overcoming adversities, holding onto hope, and transforming it into a vision. “Coming from a broken home, struggling through years where it seemed like there was no hope to now being a successful First Nation Entrepreneur, I’ve got a lot to be proud of,” he concludes, grateful for the unwavering support of his fiancé and the benevolent gaze of his father from above.
Register to watch Clinton pitch at the Professional Services & Trades Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 11, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Clinton to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#69) before September 17, 2023.