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Yum! Brands, University of Louisville Launch ‘Accelerating Growth’ Executive Education Programs to Train Next Generation of Senior Franchise Leaders

Publish date February 13, 2024

New education tracks will address unmet need of training professionals for senior management opportunities in franchise businesses

Louisville, KY, February 13, 2024 – Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) and the University of Louisville today announced the launch of new “Accelerating Growth” executive education programs at the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence. The new programs will focus on equipping operations leaders to take on senior management roles in franchise organizations, an area identified as a key opportunity by franchisees and leadership at the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence, which has been providing education for aspiring entrepreneurs through the UofL College of Business since 2021.

As part of its $100 million global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, Yum! Brands is providing more than $800,000 in funding to launch the “Accelerating Growth” programs, which is in addition to the $3.5 million commitment the company made to launch the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence in 2021. The goal of Yum! Brands’ Unlocking Opportunity Initiative is to create opportunities for education and entrepreneurship for employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities around the world.

The two new “Accelerating Growth” education tracks will launch in the summer and fall 2024 semester and will focus on training attendees to upskill their franchising education.

“Yum! Brands is passionate about the franchise business model, and capable franchise leaders are the lifeblood of every successful franchise system. As the franchisor of choice for the industry, we are thrilled to partner with the University of Louisville and address a need of the industry – training a new generation of leaders to take on senior management roles in franchise businesses,” said Wanda Williams, Head, Global Franchising, Yum! Brands. “Since its launch in 2021 as part of our Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence has helped prepare hundreds of students for successful careers and business ownership opportunities by building knowledge about the franchising industry,” 

Two new education tracks will be offered as part of the “Accelerating Growth” program, which will develop the skills necessary to run and grow a large franchise business: a six-month Level 1 program designed to train General Managers and Area Coaches for a Vice President role, and an advanced one-year program customized to prepare Vice Presidents for a role as President of a franchise organization. Both programs include online and experiential education, and the advanced program also includes a final simulation and development of a business plan.

“The ‘Accelerating Growth’ program is an exceptional addition to the multilevel franchise education offered by our center at the University of Louisville and is yet another way we can create opportunities for professionals across the franchising industry. We are incredibly grateful for Yum!’s continued support for the center and this opportunity to expand the center’s programs,” said Kathleen Gosser, Director of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence and Assistant Professor in the UofL College of Business.

Since the launch of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence at the University of Louisville, total enrollment has exceeded 900 students – 423 undergrad, 50 graduate-level and 500 executive education enrollees.

In addition, The Center launched the annual Yum! Franchise Accelerator Fellowship in 2022, a collaborative effort between the University of Louisville, Howard University and Yum! Brands, which offers a unique opportunity for four MBA students from the two universities. Participants in the annual program are granted $10,000 scholarships and receive personalized training and mentorship from industry experts during an immersive educational journey centered around the franchise business model. Each accelerator program culminates in a pitch competition featuring a $10,000 cash prize, while establishing winners as top candidates for promising franchising careers. The Yum! Franchise Accelerator Fellowship is open to all eligible students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

About Yum! Brands
Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, and its subsidiaries franchise or operate a system of over 58,000 restaurants in more than 155 countries and territories under the company’s concepts – KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the Habit Burger Grill. The Company's KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands are global leaders of the chicken, Mexican-style food, and pizza categories, respectively. The Habit Burger Grill is a fast casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. In 2024, Yum! was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America for the eighth consecutive year, and the company was recognized among TIME Magazine’s list of Best Companies for Future Leaders and Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies. Yum! also received widespread recognition in 2023, including being listed on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for Diversity; and Newsweek’s list of America’s Greenest Companies. In addition, KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands were ranked in the top five of Entrepreneur’s Top Global Franchises Ranking for 2023.

About the University of Louisville
Founded in 1798 as one of the nation’s first city-owned, public universities, the University of Louisville (UofL) is a vital ecosystem that creates thriving futures for students, our community and society. As one of only 79 universities in the United States to earn recognition by the Carnegie Foundation as both a Research 1 and a Community Engaged university, we impact lives in areas of student success and research and innovation, while our dynamic connection with our local and global communities provides unparalleled opportunities for students and citizens both. The university serves as an engine that powers Metro Louisville and the commonwealth and as a classroom for UofL’s more than 23,000 students, who benefit from partnerships with top employers and a wide range of community service opportunities.