There are a number of microfinance connections I know, all over the globe. Some of them I’ve met in person (like Sloane), some I haven’t. One of the ones I hadn’t met was James Beshara.

The relationship history is an interesting one. I first interacted with James through my best friend, Kayla, who works at Esperanza International(an MFI focused on the Dominican Republic) a few years ago. James worked at an MFI called Kuyasa in Cape Town, South Africa prior to leaving to work on a microfinance platform, Dvelo. In addition, he co-founded MiFi Report — and actually even wrote a post on back in 2009. We’ve traded emails over the past few years, and have even gotten on a skype call or two — but had never met in person.

Until yesterday, when we had coffee.

It certainly wasn’t an easy process to realize James and I were in the same city — it really should be way easier to find microfinance advocates in a given location. This fall, since returning from Startup Abroad — I’ve been largely hanging out at a friend’s in San Francisco this fall. Randomly, I connected Courtney McColgan and James via email a couple months ago (Courtney co-founded Wokai and has moved on to co-found Bevel), which prompted me to tell James we should get on a skype call since it had been so long since we had spoken (I assumed he was still abroad) — only to find out he is working on a startup – CrowdTilt – in San Francisco. So, of course, we changed our Skype into an in person meeting.

If there’s one thing I’ve realized from all this — its that it’s a small, interconnected microfinance world. All the effort it takes to meet contacts like James is worth it when you have an amazing 1 hour conversation over coffee spanning  travel, Cape Town, Crowd Tilt, yCombinator, community management, and of course a bit about microfinance.

About Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is a travel addict and founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate.