TMS Small Business Grants: Frequently Asked Questions


Are these funds a loan? Do I have to repay the grant?
The TMS Small Business Grants are not a loan and you do not need to repay the funds you receive. The grants provide up to $5,000 for storefront improvements, security upgrades, and select hard and soft costs to support business resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where does TMS get the funds to award these grants?
The small business grants program is made possible through a generous grant from the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development and through privately raised funds.

Why would TMS give away funds? What’s in it for TMS?
TMS is a community-based nonprofit organization that works to strengthen the economic vitality of the Tenleytown business district. We’re here to help you grow and prosper your business – that includes helping you invest in your storefront and business operations. More than 50% of customers will decide whether to enter your business based on their initial impression – and that decision is made in under 5 seconds. Plus, as individual businesses invest in their storefronts and interiors, the entire business community benefits from an improved experience for customers.

Aren’t grant applications difficult to complete?
Not ours! TMS knows that you are busy running your business and don’t have time for complicated forms. We’ve made our online application form easy to fill out. We want you to be able to receive funding to improve your business. And if you have any questions, we’re available to support you throughout the application process.

I want to make some updates to my business, but I don’t know where to start finding someone to install a sign, awning, or windows or to help improve my business operations. Can you help?
TMS would be happy to provide you a list of service providers with whom we have worked successfully in the past. You are not, however, required to hire any of them, and the final selection of contractors or service providers is made at your sole discretion. In addition, the TMS Design Committee is available to advise you on design choices for your business.

How can I apply?
More information and an application form will be available on November 1, 2020. You may also contact TMS at 202-362-1815 or The deadline for submitting grant applications is November 30, 2020.