LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Yum! Brands and the University of Louisville on Wednesday announced the launch of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence. The center will feature the first business program of its kind at a public university to provide existing and potential franchisees multiple levels of online education focused on the franchising model across industries. In addition, the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence will focus on recruiting and educating underrepresented people of color and women on the possibilities of franchising as a pathway to entrepreneurship.
The creation and funding of the center is part of Yum! Brands’ global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, in which the company committed $100 million over five years to promote equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship 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,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “We’re excited about the new center as it aligns with UofL’s commitment to empower our communities and supports our vision to become the nation’s premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.”
“We’re proud to partner with the University of Louisville on developing a sustainable, globally scalable program that democratizes exposure to and builds knowledge of the franchising industry for all,” said Scott Catlett, chief legal and franchise officer, Yum! Brands. “Our hope is the center will carve a path to economic opportunity and successful ownership for talented, underrepresented people while bringing diverse voices and ideas to the broader franchising community.”
The Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence builds on UofL’s existing franchising education tracks within the College of Business, which include a graduate program and an executive-level Franchise Management Certificate. New to the Center is an undergraduate franchising track within the Bachelor of Business Administration program that launched in the Spring 2021 semester. The Center’s curriculum development will continue to be led by franchising industry alumni and business experts at UofL with subject matter experts at Yum! Brands providing resources, up-to-date information and powerful industry insights on the state of franchising.
To improve equity for underrepresented people of color and women, the center will:
- actively recruit diverse students to its undergraduate, graduate and executive-level programs offered through the College of Business;
- conduct research to develop new knowledge surrounding franchise ownership, including case studies, white papers and other work to better understand the reasons for lower ownership by underrepresented people of color and women;
- create regular podcasts and a practitioner-focused journal to share franchising education and news with franchise owners and managers.
The franchising model is strong in the U.S. and globally and makes business ownership accessible to many individuals. By the end of 2021, the International Franchise Association projects the franchising industry will increase to more than 780,000 outlets employing 8.2 million people in the U.S. alone.
Brands’ also is investing $6 million over five years to advance equity and opportunity across Louisville, particularly in West Louisville, including uplifting Black students, educators, entrepreneurs and social change agents. As part of this, Yum! Brands is working with Nat Irvin, assistant dean in the UofL College of Business, on the university’s Pathways program to help predominantly Pell Grant-eligible high school students at key public schools in Louisville earn college credits from and early admission to UofL.