Billings Regional Small Business Development Center

Counties served: Yellowstone, Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Petroleum, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland


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Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula or Wolf Point.



Lorene Hintz, SBDC Regional Director
406.254.6014 |

Lorene Hintz serves as the Regional Director of the Billings Small Business Development Center at Big Sky Economic Development. She has successfully managed the Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation grant program, making a positive impact on businesses in the region. As an Accredited Business Consultant, Lorene offers businesses technical assistance and conducting thorough marketing research to analyzing financial projections and packaging loans, Lorene's expertise covers a wide range of areas. With a diverse background spanning 16 years of owning a retail business and co-owning Hintz Trucking, Lorene brings first-hand experience to her role. Having served as a Small Business Development Center Regional Director for 18 years, her depth of knowledge is unparalleled.

Lorene volunteers as a mentor for entrepreneurial development programs across the state, including Early-Stage Montana, Rock31, Veteran's Business Outreach Centers, and the Women's Business Center. Lorene has been recognized for her outstanding contributions with America's SBDC State Star award in both 2010 and 2022. She is an active member of the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) and holds certifications as an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASBD), Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), NxLevel trainer, Profit Mastery consultant, and Core Four Trainer.



Kayla Vokral, SBDC Training Manager and Business Advisor
406.254.6014 | kayla@bigskyeda.orgStateStar

Kayla is a Business Advisor and Training Manager at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Big Sky Economic Development, where she has been a part of the team since July 2019. Her areas of expertise include Business Plan and Financial Projection Assistance, as well as Food/Ag/Restaurant Assistance. Kayla dedicates herself to the preparation and facilitation of online training sessions in the Billings region as an essential resource for the SBDC. Her prior experience in running a small business has allowed her to understand the obstacles and roadblocks that entrepreneurs face. Her first-hand knowledge and empathetic approach help her provide the necessary support to entrepreneurs as they work through their business journeys.

Kayla holds certifications as an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASBD), Profit Mastery Facilitator, and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual. In addition to her role at the SBDC, Kayla is also a Podcast Host on The Vault at 201 N Broadway, a podcast for innovators & problem solvers talking all things small business, entrepreneurship, and workforce development.


Jason Nitschke

Jason Nitschke, Zero to Five Senior Child Care Business Advisor
406.402.2455 |

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Jason joins Zero to Five Montana as a Senior Child Care Business Advisor after eight years in economic development as Vice President with the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) and Regional Director of the Great Falls area Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He will be delivering educational opportunities and one-on-one consultation support to entrepreneurs and communities starting, growing, and expanding childcare and early education solutions.

Since 2014, he has advised and trained nearly 4000 entrepreneurs and business professionals, helped start over 100 businesses, supported 2800 jobs, and helped in attracting nearly $75M in capital investment into area businesses. He was the 2022 recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, a national award recognizing the top five presenters of the SBA’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship curriculum for active-duty military and veterans. In 2018, he was named the Montana State SBDC Star honoring the top 1% of business advisors in the U.S.

Prior to joining the economic development community, Jason owned two businesses and spent 16 years as a print and broadcast journalist. He is an award-winning broadcaster, native Montanan, and is a proud daughter-dad. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in Communication from Hawaii Pacific University-Honolulu.

He is a certified business advisor, Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), and certified Profit Mastery and PeerSpectives facilitator.