Steel Benders UK’s MD proud to be named on northern Power List

TANIA Cooper is honoured to have been included in a 30-strong list highlighting inspirational women in business across the north of England.

The Steel Benders UK managing director has been included on the Northern Power Women Awards’ Power List 2024 in recognition for what she has done beyond the boardroom.

As chair of the North-East STEM Foundation, Tania, who took over the running of the Teesside-based business in 2019, is passionate about connecting education with industry.

The Power List recognises the trailblazers who challenge the norm and ensure that everyone they work with recognises the benefit of having a gender balanced workplace and shifting the dial towards a more equitable world for women in work. Tania is one of 30 individuals chosen by a panel of judges from more than 1400 nominations.

STEM Foundation

Tania said: “I am not an engineer, I have run engineering companies, but it dawned on me a few years ago just how important the work of the STEM Foundation is.

“I would like to show our young people there are amazing companies in the North-East, providing amazing opportunities, and I want them to aspire to progress in that industry and in STEM roles.

“The Foundation has found a niche in being able to do that and I play a part in bringing business awareness and engagement into those opportunities.

“STEM is an opportunity for any child. No matter what background, all children still need to know about the different routes to careers.

“If we can help the underprivileged and girls learn more about STEM careers along the way then fantastic. It’s about keeping them all engaged.”

Tania Cooper pictured left with Steel Benders’ operations director Phil Anderson.


Tania also sits on the Tees Valley Business Board as lead for Education, Employment, and Skills. Tees Valley Business Board is playing a defining role in representing the voice of local business, feeding into the work of the Tees Valley Mayor, Combined Authority and Local Authorities, creating stronger and more influential business led partnerships to improve the local economy.

She mentors for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, where she will see three or four business owners a day a few times a year to advise on various matters such as growth.

“I really enjoy those,” said Tania.

She is also a huge advocate of Universal Technical Colleges (UTCs) and that has earned further recognition across the Northern Power Women network.  

Tania said: “The UTC is a unique offering and part of what the STEM Foundation does is support the UTC in Newton Aycliffe with grants towards equipment and transport and engagement.

“The UTC does an amazing job, we need more UTCs across the North-East to benefit children. We also focus on primary outreach, like awareness days, engagement days, younger children to show them and develop a love for STEM activities.”


Tania supports numerous charities such as Hartlepool-based The PFC Trust, Teesside Hospice, Mission to Seafarers and Daisy Chain – and her Steel Benders team gets involved on that front too.

“It is a real honour for me to be included in the Power List,” said Tania, who has also been shortlisted for the Tees Business Making a Difference award.

“I don’t see anything that I’m doing as earth shattering or different. I just like to support as many people as I can while doing what we do at Steel Benders.”

Steel Benders UK’s managing director Tania Cooper shows Cllr Mike Young, the Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, around the new site with operations director Phil Anderson and finance manager Ashleigh Glass. Pictures: Tom Banks/Rephrase


Steel Benders is going through a huge expansion drive.

The steel forming and profiling specialists operate in a wide-range of markets including marine, defence, renewable energy, offshore, petrochemical, manufacturing, architectural and civil engineering.

The company has recently started moving over from their Middlesbrough home for the last 21 years to the former Caparo and forge plant site on Brenda Road, Hartlepool, creating at least 15 new jobs and a host of new opportunities.

Tania said: “We are at the beginning of a large growth plan. In the 18 months I’d like to think we would be rehoused in a bespoke facility, bringing steel back to an old steel site.

“It is a nice touch that it is an old forge, feels quite like a full cycle event. We will create new jobs and we are looking forward to being involved in the Hartlepool business community.

“This is the biggest single investment we have taken on and we are creating a new opportunity on increased service delivery and portfolio.”

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