Nominations are now open for the Business Journal's eighth annual Forty Under 40 Awards honoring 40 young professionals in the North Bay.

"It's important that we recognize young professionals who bring innovation and vitality to business and our communities," said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger. "The smartest CEOs know how important young talent is to their organizations and want to see that it is nurtured and recognized."

Nominees must be younger than 40 and fit any of the following criteria:Entrepreneurs who create a new product or market.Individuals who demonstrate extraordinary leadership qualities.Executives and professionals advancing quickly in their organizations.Innovators who have changed the way their industry does business.Individuals whose work has had a wide-ranging impact on the business community.

Nominations are open through Feb. 24 and are accessible under "Registration & Nominations" at Individuals must be under the age of 40 as of April 29 to be eligible. Winners will be featured as part of a special publication, and will be honored during an awards ceremony later this year. They also become part of an exclusive Linked-In community of previous Forty Under 40 recipients totaling nearly 300 people.