A bid to save the Cadbury factory in Dunedin is being unveiled today.
Jim O'Malley, a Dunedin city councillor, is trying to raise $20 million to keep the factory open on a portion of the site.
The Dunedin City Council is not involved in the bid.
O'Malley's plan is to run a share offer aimed at the public as well as business. But before launching any share offer, he has organised a two-week pledge period to gauge interest.
If there is little interest, he said the plan would be dumped and the "lights will turn off in March".
Shares in Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings (DMH) would be priced at $50 if the offer goes ahead. A website, www.ownthefactory.co.nz, has been launched to register pledges.
"You will not be committed to make an investment at this time, but we ask you to only make a pledge if you intend to invest in the future," O'Malley said.
It was an opportunity to invest in a viable business while helping the community, he said.
The plant would make the full range of New Zealand favourities, such as Jaffas and Pineapple Lumps under licence for Mondelez International.
DMH would also look for new markets, and it planned to expand over time to full chocolate production.
Production would start in August 2018, he said, but Mondelez wanted to confirm the third-party manufacturer in a couple of months' time.
The business would employ 25 workers initially, increasing to 69 over three years.