The four long years since Lehman Brothers went kablooey have been tough on entrepreneurs in New York City and around the country. Yet the entrepreneurial sector remains one of the few true bright spots in the economy. Silicons Alley and Valley have been hotbeds of innovation and growth throughout the post-2008 era. Manufacturing is starting to return to the U.S. and, yes, to parts of the Big Apple (more on that topic next week). Small businesses in every borough are creating an impressive share of our local jobs, even as their owners stare down bureaucrats, tax collectors and tightfisted lenders, and even as their customers and communities rebuild after Sandy. And that's your scene-setter as we open nominations for our latest Top Entrepreneurs awards. Since 2005, we've honored startup stars who've spotted opportunity in areas others overlooked. Visionary founders like Steve Hindy of lager leader Brooklyn Brewery, Rob Kalin of artsy e-commerce pioneer Etsy, Laura Geller of QVC powerhouse Laura Geller Makeup and Anthony Casalena of blogging service Squarespace. "It's not just about churning out millions in revenues and steep profits, though that doesn't hurt," explained Crain's Contributing Editor Elaine Pofeldt, who runs the annual Top Entrepreneurs project. "Since the contest started, we've looked for innovators who have made New York City a more vibrant place and have given back to the community." Sound familiar? Complete your nomination form at CrainsNewYork.com/2013TopEntrepreneurs by March 15. We'll unveil this year's winners on June 3.