An establishment board has been named for the proposed expanded, community-funded Otago Chocolate Company and its backers expect bars to be flowing out of a new factory by next July.
Own The Factory will launch its crowdfunding campaign on November 13, aiming to raise $2 million to expand the operations of Ocho (The Otago Chocolate Company).
The campaign was originally created to buy the closing Cadbury factory, for which $5.8 million was pledged.
Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings Incorporated Society yesterday announced its four-member establishment board should the campaign succeed, which will be reviewed after one year.
The three Dunedin members are Jim O'Malley, the Dunedin city councillor spearheading the project; Stewart Cowan, an enterprise systems manager at Silver Fern Farms; and Vito Iannece, who co-founded Pasta d'Oro. The fourth member is Tami Louisson, of Wellington, who co-founded Shott Beverages and was its chief executive for eight years before retiring in 2015.
O'Malley said he would definitely stand down after one year and two more directors could be appointed if required.
The group hoped to order equipment from Italy by Christmas and the first chocolate would be made in a new factory by July.
Today, the four board members will meet for the first time to discuss plans and scout two potential factory sites at the Steamer Basin.
O'Malley said the new plans would mean a 10-fold increase in production for the company.
It would continue to be an artisan low-sugar chocolate, he said.
"That's where all the growth is in chocolate."
He expected the $2 million to be raised "very fast", judging by the success of the Save Our Factory campaign.
He was "excited" about the calibre of the board members, he said.
Cowan said his experience assessing business cases equipped him well for the role.
"I'm very much the finance guy."
It was "extremely early days" for the project, as it did not yet have funding, but so far its goals seemed manageable, he said.
Iannece said he got on board because it was a "very exciting" but challenging project.
He had "great knowledge" of establishing new factories and had 30 years' experience running a business, he said.
The aim of the crowdfunding campaign is to get as many $100 investments as possible while limiting the total proportion of shares one person can have to 11%.
Ocho founder Liz Rowe will continue working for the company and act as a transitional chief executive until an appointment is made.