HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC), headquartered at the Montana Department of Commerce, announced that SBDC Business Advisor Kayla Vokral of Billings was named Montana’s 2023 State Star.

The State Star is a national award received by outstanding SBDC employees from around the country. Vokral will be honored next month at America’s Small Business Development Center Conference in Nashville. Award nomination criteria include exemplary performance, significant contributions to the program and a strong commitment to small businesses.

“Kayla’s work has greatly benefited our southcentral Montana entrepreneurs,” said Scott Osterman, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “Montana’s Small Business Development Center clients are fortunate to have access to Kayla’s innovation and leadership as they navigate their businesses to success.”

Vokral and her regional director, Lorene Hintz of Big Sky Economic Development, provide confidential one-on-one consulting and training for entrepreneurs and small business owners across a nine-county region. Lorene Hintz said, “Kayla goes above and beyond in everything she does. She is self-motivated, innovative, creative and spunky!”

“Kayla has surpassed our expectations, as well as the expectations of her clients,” said Chad Moore, Montana SDBC State Director. “Entrepreneurs thrive under her consulting; this is well-deserved recognition.”

In 2022, Vokral enhanced opportunities for small businesses by serving as the point person for four large events in her region. Those events included the Rise and Restore Conference, Expert Week, the SBDC Day Cake Walk and a high school entrepreneur market. Expert Week featured themed days where volunteer accountants, marketing experts and attorneys provided free thirty-minute sessions to clients. The week ended with the Expert Week Tradeshow, which showcased 17 business resource partners who set up booths and talked with clients. Vokral was also instrumental in developing “The Vault at 201 N. Broadway” podcast for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Being recognized as State Star is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful to have found a career that I love. Working with small businesses is both exciting and constantly evolving,” said Kayla Vokral. “I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Montana SBDC network for believing in me and supporting my work with entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

The SBDC network is comprised of ten statewide regional SBDC offices overseen by the lead center at the Montana Department of Commerce. The SBDC program is funded through a cooperative agreement between the Montana Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with local host organizations.

For more information on SBDC services and to find a regional center, visit