Yum Brands has announced the opening of the Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, which will specifically target women and people of color to learn how to be a franchisee. The education center will offer online programs for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a six-week online bootcamp non-credit offering.
“We’re developing sustainable education with a global reach,” Wanda Williams, head of Yum Brands’ global franchising said. “It’s helping us to level the playing field, and to create pathways to ownership for underrepresented people of color and women. That’s something really powerful as we see that there are a lot of barriers to enter franchise systems specifically with those groups.”
The business degree program is the first of its kind at any public university, and is part of Yum’s Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, first announced in 2020, for which Yum invested $100 million over the course of five years to support education programs.
The education center adds on to programs that already exist at the University of Louisville’s school of business, including a graduate program which launched in 2019, and an executive-level franchise management certificate. The new programs will begin for the Fall 2021 semester and will be taught by franchising industry alumni and business experts.
“We go deep on topics like the legal aspects, such as federal disclosure documents and franchise agreements, HR infrastructures and how to build your teams,” Kathleen Gosser, a University of Louisville PhD. Graduate and Yum Brands employee said. “[…] We’ll be talking about such things as, what’s your relationship with your franchisor look like? And how can you really leverage that?”
Although graduates do not have to pledge to open Yum restaurants upon graduation, they will learn franchising business acumen. The Center will also conduct research and publish white papers about franchise ownership and create podcasts and scholarly journals discussing franchise business topics more in-depth.
The program was designed to help underrepresented groups that might not have even thought about owning a franchised business as a career option.
“We’ve noticed there are several barriers to enter a franchise system,” Williams said. “There’s access to capital, lack of franchise education and training, and a lack of the right partnerships at the brand to know how to get down the path to become an owner. And unfortunately, this disproportionately impacts underrepresented people of color and females. So right here, we’re trying to fill that education gap.”
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