Kiwis Can Buy a Share in the OCHO Chocolate Factory
Monday 13 November 2017
New Zealanders have the chance to buy a piece of the Dunedin-based chocolate company OCHO and receive discounted
chocolate for life, if they take a stake in the company when its PledgeMe campaign launches at 7am today (Monday 13
This community-driven initiative began as a response to Mondelez announcing it planned to close Dunedin’s Cadbury
factory. Initially Jim O’Malley and a team of volunteers aimed to purchase the Cadbury factory to keep confectionery
production in the city. However, ‘Own the Factory’ has advanced its strategy to focus on premium chocolate-making,
joining forces with independently owned OCHO and in the process developing a model for community business ownership to
contribute to regional development.
Jim O’Malley says the share offer is a little different from the ordinary. “We want to attract as many $100 investors as
possible, so we’re limiting the total any one person can own to 11% so that no single investor can dominate. The
constitution of the company will also prevent it from moving its production outside of Dunedin.”
“Instead of one or a few large 'cornerstone' shareholders, OCHO will be owned by a broad base of small investors across
the country. Each share is worth $100 and all shareholders will have voting rights – and importantly each shareholder
will be able to buy award-winning OCHO chocolate at a special shareholder price!”
Jim says they aim to raise $2,000,000, which is the maximum that can be raised through crowd funding in any year.
However, they will close the fund if they only receive $1,800,000. If they receive any less than this the public buy-out
of OCHO won’t proceed.
When the crowd funding is confirmed OCHO will become publically owned, with the money raised contributing a small amount
to its purchase and the majority providing funds for expansion. OCHO Founder Liz Rowe has agreed to stay on as OCHO’s
General Manager to scale up the company and help it achieve its ambitious growth goals.
Liz recently visited Italy to research artisan chocolate making equipment and this will be ordered as soon as the crowd
funding campaign closes. While OCHO will continue to operate its café from 22 Vogel Street in Dunedin’s growing
warehouse precinct, the new Board of Directors is investigating moving production to a building in the city’s Steamer
Basin. Its hoped the expanded production facility will be operational by the middle of 2018.
An establishment board has been appointed to lead OCHO for the first 12 months and there is the potential to appoint
another director if more skills are required. The OCHO establishment board is; Jim O’Malley, Vito Iannece and Stewart
Cowan from Dunedin and Tami Louisson from Wellington.
The crowd funding campaign will be live on https://www.pledgeme.co.nz
from 7am on Monday 13 November 2017