The Economic Research Unit (ERU) at La Trobe University was spun-off as a private company by the University in late 2006. The new entity, 'Compelling Economics Pty. Ltd.', is a continuation of the Economic Research Unit, which has developed a reputation for undertaking rigorous research in the area of regional economics and providing sales and service of REMPLAN software.
The team at Compelling Economics have, through their previous work with the ERU and the CSRC (Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities), established strong connections with communities, local governments, industry and other economic development agencies.
In 1999 Ian Pinge, Senior Economics Lecturer, La Trobe University was undertaking research into implications of electronic gambling machines on Greater Bendigo's regional economy.
For this task Ian Pinge required a model of the Bendigo regional economy to identify supply chain linkages between sectors. All available economic models at the time were either out of date, or applied an inappropriate methodology for the required task.
After investigating available methodological approaches, he identified input - output (I/O) as the most appropriate approach given the defined region of interest and the available datasets. In the absence of any suitable 'off the shelf' economic modelling products, he set about building his own I/O model.
Into this economic model, Ian Pinge incorporated a gambling sector and benchmarked its performance from a regional economic perspective against other industry sectors such as retail. The findings of his research were detailed in a number of papers.
These papers were presented at Australian and international conferences and gained wide media coverage. Understandably the Economic Development Unit at the City of Greater Bendigo had particular interest in the findings of Ian's research. During subsequent meetings between Ian and local government economic development officers from the surrounding region, a recurring sentiment was voiced, "I wish we had access to regional economic data as detailed as this".
At this point, Ian recognised the potential and set about systematising the process of building economic models for regions defined by local government area boundaries, and building a user interface so that both those with, and those without, a formal background in economics could access and utilise this resource.
Ian Pinge and the Economic Research Unit team at La Trobe University developed and refined this regional economic modelling and analysis tool. The outcome of this development is the software product, REMPLAN, which stands for Regional Economic Modelling and Planning System. Ian has since moved into retirement but still has an active interest in REMPLAN and Compelling Economics.
This period has seen the evolution of REMPLAN from a MS Excel based program with a dynamic economic modelling capability at up to 17 different industry sectors into a standalone software application which encompasses a powerful engine enabling a dynamic economic modelling capability for 109 different industry sectors.
Despite these vastly expanded analytical capabilities, REMPLAN is even easier to use through the provision of step-by-step analysis utilities, comprehensive help files, and video tutorial clips. With training now provided by Compelling Economics, a REMPLAN client can conduct complex economic impact analysis tasks from their desktop at the touch of a button. If unsure, all clients have access to ongoing support from Compelling Economics, via telephone and email.