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Billings SBDC Regional Director Wins National Award for Excellence

Wednesday, May 25, 2016/Categories: Market MT, Small Business Development Center Network

HELENA – Dena Johnson, regional director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Billings, has been named the 2015 Montana “State Star,” a national award recognizing outstanding business advisors from America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC).

Criteria to win the award include exemplary performance, significant contributions to the program and a strong commitment to small business.

“Johnson is a bright star in Montana’s economic development landscape,” said SBDC State Director Michael Finnerty. “Her exemplary career says it all. We are lucky she is consulting and leading businesses in our state.”

Johnson, in tandem with two SBDC business advisors and host organization Big Sky Economic Development in Billings, provides customized one-on-one consulting and training to start-up and existing businesses in a nine-county region, including Wheatland, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Petroleum, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Yellowstone, Carbon and Big Horn counties.

Johnson joined the SBDC in 2013. In her tenure, she has consulted 836 clients and secured $11.9 million in financing. Johnson’s impact extends beyond numbers, however. Johnson was instrumental in procuring and initially managing the Veterans Business Outreach Center for Region VIII (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota). She has had two clients win Small Business Administration awards and created a first-of-its-kind Billings SBDC local Advisory Board.

“We are very fortunate to have Dena Johnson on our team,” Big Sky Economic Development Executive Director Steve Arveschoug said. “Her being named the ‘State Star’ for Montana SBDC is very fitting for the outstanding work she does in our region for small business.”

The SBDC network comprises 10 statewide regional SBDC offices overseen by the Lead Center at the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC). The SBDC program is funded under a cooperative agreement between MDOC and the U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with local host organizations. Learn more at

The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development markets Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature, vibrant and charming small towns, breathtaking experiences, relaxing hospitality, and competitive business climate to promote the state as a place to visit and do business.



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