Among the world’s largest restaurant companies, YUM! Brands is kicking off a franchise accelerator fellowship that could help more women and minorities become their own bosses.
Counting KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell among the brands it owns, YUM! Brands is uniting with the University of Louisville and Howard University to support underrepresented people of color and women interested in the franchise restaurant industry.
YUM! Brands is introducing the Franchise Accelerator, a “one-of-a-kind MBA elective opportunity,” according to a news release. Ten second-year MBA students from the two universities were chosen to partake in a five-month fellowship where two of them will gain a chance to become future franchisees of Yum! Brands. The Louisville-based company reports it operates 52,000 restaurants in over 150 countries and territories.
The company indicated the debut of the Yum! Franchise Accelerator follows last year’s rollout of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence at the University of Louisville College of Business.
“Yum! Brands is proud to work with both the University of Louisville and Howard University on this groundbreaking partnership to train and advance underrepresented people of color and women entrepreneurs interested in building a career in the franchise restaurant industry,” stated Scott Catlett, chief legal and franchise officer for Yum! Brands.
“The fellowship is a win-win as the students will receive educational experiences, mentoring and hands-on training unlike any other, while Yum! has the opportunity to welcome two talented business leaders and aspiring, diverse franchisees to our U.S. system.”
Franchising has been popular among Black entrepreneurs for years as an operating business model. Roughly 26% of franchises are owned by people of color, versus 17% of independent businesses generally, figures from Oxford Economics show. The forecasting and consulting firm revealed that Black-owned franchises on average earn 2.2 times more than Black-owned independent businesses.
Per the news release, six MBA students from Howard University and four from the University of Louisville will get scholarships among the offerings. Each student will take part in sessions allowing them to learn directly from Yum! Brands executives, successful franchisees and restaurant operators. Each accelerator student will be paired with a Yum! Brands franchisee as a mentor during the semester.
The company disclosed the University of Louisville Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence is part of Yum! Brands’ global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative. That effort came as Yum! Brands committed $100 million over five years to promote equity and inclusion tied to its pledge.