Marketing

Yum Brands and the University of Louisville start a franchising education program

The Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence will focus on recruiting and educating people of color and women on franchising.
Photo courtesy of Yum Brands

Yum Brands and the University of Louisville on Wednesday announced the creation of a business education program on franchising and targeted at women and people of color.

The Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence will focus on recruiting and educating underrepresented people of color and women on the possibilities franchising holds as a “pathway to entrepreneurship.” The effort is targeted at both new and existing franchisees.

The center is part of the Louisville, Ky.-based Yum’s “Unlocking Opportunity Initiative” in which it committed $100 million over five years to promote equity and inclusion for employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities around the world.

“We believe that combining the resources and expertise of the University of Louisville with Yum Brands will create an unrivaled resource for world-class training in franchising that will help people everywhere, particularly underrepresented people of color and women, succeed in franchise ownership and management,” University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi said in a statement.

Yum Brands operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Habit Burger. The vast majority of the chains' 50,000 global restaurants are owned by franchisees. 

The center builds on the university’s existing franchising education tracks within the College of Business, which include a graduate program and an executive-level franchise management certificate.

The center added an undergraduate franchising track within the bachelor of Business Administration program in the spring semester this year. Franchising industry experts at the university, with experts from Yum Brands, will lead the curriculum development.

To improve equity, the center will recruit diverse students to its programs, research the reasons for lower ownership among women and people of color and create podcasts and a journal to share franchise education and news with owners and managers.

Franchising is strong in the U.S. The International Franchise Association projects the industry will have more than 780,000 total outlets and employ 8.2 million people in the U.S. alone by the end of this year. But women and people of color have historically been underrepresented as franchise owners.

“Franchising is one of the best paths to entrepreneurship, creating an opportunity to build generational wealth,” Kathleen Gosser, executive in residence at the University of Louisville College of Business, said in a statement. “Our goal is to uncover and reduce barriers to franchise ownership, starting with education.”

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