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Many analysis of growth poles do not refer directly to development and dynamics of propulsive activities, but rather to their effects. In this paper the author concluded that essential role may be played by fast-growing and knowledge-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while their intra-regional diversity of activity may be a reasonable proxy measure of a role played by specific town as a growth centre. Therefore the article has two main goals: methodical – determining the usefulness of the activity of fast-growing and (potentially) innovative small and medium enterprises as a designatum for the growth pole and cognitive – to capture the spatial differences in the distribution of this kind of SMEs in Podkarpackie region. The study showed strong diversification of the number of fast-growing and (potentially) innovative SMEs on the local level. All techniques of determining the level of economic development and it’s dynamics taken into consideration in the analysis testify to strong and rising position of Rzeszów as a regional growth pole. It indicates growing role of metropolisation processes in Poland even in case of peripheral, weakly urbanised region with a relatively small regional centre compared to the biggest Polish cities.
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