A BUSINESSWOMAN beat the new EU foreign minister Baroness Ashton to take the top prize at a Hertfordshire awards ceremony.

Karen Moxom, managing director of ANLP International was named Herts Woman of the Year at the 2009 Hertforshire Business Awards, with Baroness Ashton a runner up.

The South Mimms based company, which represents practitioners of Neuro Linguistic Programming therapy, also scooped the nod for Small Business of the Year.

Mrs Moxom said she was thrilled ANLP had won the award.

"We found the whole experience incredibly interesting and useful," she said.

"It really made us focus and we realised how much we have achieved.

"Sometimes in business you forget to turn around and see how far you have come".

Damian Cummins, the project manager of the Federation of Small Businesses, the sponsor of the Small Business of the Year Award, said: "Conditions are very difficult right now but small businesses are fighting back.

"They are inspirational to everyone working to get the UK economy going again".