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Alumna Receives Prestigious SBA Award

Anita Ron ‘88 named 2024 SBA Los Angeles District Small Business Person of the Year, an award  recognizing entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional leadership and create sustainable, thriving businesses in their communities. 

Twenty-eight years ago Anita Ron decided to start a cleaning service after being laid off from a corporate food service position due to downsizing.

It was a move that some doubted would be hard to juggle while raising raising two young children. But the impossible has always been possible with Ron.

With only three vacuums, $700, and a whole lot of grit and determination, Ron launched BriteWorks Inc. in 1996.  Today, the Covina-based business includes about 200 associates, who provide commercial and janitorial services throughout the US, including for high-profile events like the Super Bowl (2022-24) and clients like Coca-Cola and Disney. The all minority business also boasts a community service footprint throughout the region and beyond.  

It takes a lot of sweat equity. Failure is never an option, and this continues to be a driving factor as I empower my team to become leaders in their communities,” said Anita Ron, who weaves ULV values – diversity, service, lifelong learning, and ethical reasoning – into the workplace. “I am honored and so grateful to be in an organization where we all are truly making an impact.

At the University of La Verne, Ron started a path toward becoming a journalist, even taking an internship at a newspaper abroad. Even then, she said, she gained a lot of stamina, doing everything she could to grow, enhance her education and graduate on time. As a student worker, she helped out in the cafeteria and catering. The introduction to food service opened a new direction. She excelled in the area and built confidence, earning her two job offers in the industry when she graduated. 

Although she never became a journalist, the passionate businesswoman credits her training in investigation and research at ULV to helping her inquire about and bid for jobs, pivot when needed, handle deadline pressures, and meet client expectations. Instead of finding stories, Ron says she uses her skills to find the next client.    

Annually, BriteWorks adopts a couple of schools to donate funds for education. Every employee is also challenged to take on their own service projects to share with the team. Past projects have included food kitchens, fundraising for medical equipment for the needy and volunteering at local churches. They also provide tours and mentorship for students in the ULV international business program.  

The SBA award represents a business that has used at least one SBA program/service and demonstrates a number of characteristics including growth in employees and revenue, resiliency, “staying  power” and contributions to the community. 

“She exemplifies business success and is a wonderful role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.  She created a business out of necessity, but her dedication, passion, resiliency and determination made BriteWorks a success,” said Julie Clowes, SBA Los Angeles director. “Anita maximizes opportunities, takes advantage of resources, mentors other business owners and gives back to her community.  We are honored to present her with this award.” 

The SBA award is among the latest honors and distinctions Ron has earned for her leadership and contributions in the industry. Last month, she also received the Diversity Professionals Magazine Women of Excellence award. She has received recognitions from elected officials, regional and state Hispanic chambers of commerce, the Latin Business Association, and several publications including the Los Angeles Business Journal and Latina Style Magazine.  

Ron is an active member in business networks, advocating for diversity, women empowerment. and entrepreneurship. She is currently a member of the ULV College of Business advisory board and vice president of the board of directors for the National Latina Business Women Association Inland Empire Institute, a regional nonprofit organization with the purpose of strengthening the success of Latina entrepreneurs in the Inland Southern California region. She is always looking for opportunities to network and make communities stronger. 

Sean Snider, director of the University of La Verne Small Business Development Center, said the center nominated Ron for her tenacity.

“When I think of Anita, I think of someone who is incredibly hardworking, smart in business and engaged in the community,” he said. “She really gives her all in all she does.”