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 cover up to 75% of the cost of façade, storefront, and/or interior improvements with a maximum total grant award of $7,500 per business, per year.

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 upgrades that will make your business standout in the best way possible. 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 application form, which is just three pages, easy to fill out. We want you to be able to receive funding to improve your business. And if you have any questions, we’ll come to you to meet one-on-one and help you complete the application form.

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. 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, which reviews all small business grant applications, is available to advise you on design choices for your business.

How can I apply?
More information and an application form is available by clicking this link. You may also contact TMS at 202-362-1815 or The deadline for the current grant applications is August 1, 2020. However, grant applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and grants are approved throughout the year as long as funding remains available. Businesses are encouraged to apply early.